Human Flower Project

Would You Like to Sit on a Lotus?

The throne of Lakshmi and Buddha is now available for your tush, too.


Dream Bag

Photo: HDK

Could this be the ultimate in parental pandering?

First we thought so, after seeing the Dream Bag,  a multi-pillowed bloom. “Close it into a bud and let it blossom when or wherever you want, either inside or outdoors. Made from foam filled polyester, beaver nylon and is easy to bring with you.” Designers Ulrika E. Engberg and Kasper Medin note they are, “Looking for (a) producer!” (Preferably one just downstream from large quantities of “beaver nylon.”)

imageGanesh and his consort on a lotus

Image: Exotic India

The Dream Bag is today’s bean bag chair, simple and schleppable, yet—as the 21st century demands—spiritual. It’s modeled on the lotus, seat of divinities. In Hinduism, Vishnu and Ganesh, Lakshmi and Saraswati are all depicted on lotus blossoms.  Brahma sits on a super-lotus, its stem growing from Vishnu’s navel. (As for Dream Bag, umbilicus not included.)

We were surprised to find the Egyptian god Horus also seated on a lotus, as in this ivory plaque from the 8th Century B.C.

But it was The Buddha who made floral furniture famous. Why?

This interesting essay explains: “Whatever symbolic thrust Buddhism attached to lotus, its real glorification began with Puranas,” religious texts from the first century A.D. In these writings the lotus seat, with its many petals, “multiplied a god’s magnificence and divine aura,” made manifest in “fertility, prosperity, fruition, and riches.” We would add beauty!

“Lotus had the divine birth - as an element of Lord Vishnu’s body; integral part of his consort Lakshmi; multiplication of Shiva’s seed; or inhabitant of heaven sent to the earth to incarnate as a flower.” To be seated on the lotus throne, an emblem both of “manliness” and “tenderness,”  was to be sittin’ spiritually pretty.


Image: Nexus

All these religious associations made the Dream Bag seem an affront at first—like a playscape of Calvary or facsimile Muslim prayer rug for your powder room. But as he so often does, Joseph Campbell changed our thinking. This terrific essay looks at the underlying meaning of yoga’s lotus position (no furniture required). Campbell reminds us that chakra #1, which makes contact with your Dream Bag, Bean Bag, sectional sofa or whatever, is the humble place we all start from. Everybody’s butt “is known as muladhara (“root base”) and identified as the motivating center of that simple, primal holding to life which is of infancy and early childhood.”

So what could make more sense than a toddler seated on a sack shaped like a lotus flower? These little tykes can’t be expected to assume the lotus position all on their own.  They’re too busy getting a handle on eating and excreting, those basic “precondition(s) of all animal life, which can exist only by consuming lives” (and perhaps designer furniture at a later date).

Good luck to Ulrika Engberg and Kasper Medin in finding a backer for this ingenious backside accessory.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/22 at 04:18 PM


You’re hilarious, Julie. I laughed at your jokes all the way through. And beaver nylon!

Posted by Pam/Digging on 03/23 at 01:51 PM

I am never sit on a lotus.

Posted by Nurlimasari on 03/24 at 02:01 AM

When I saw this I was sure if should laugh hysterically or start looking for one of these Dream Bags. Honestly, as a Buddhist, a part of me is affronted by the lotus shaped chair, but another part of me, the part from the western United States, knows that religion is its own commodity now and it’s okay here to have commercial objects that symbolize your devotion to your religion. It’s a very complicated situation for me spiritually, of course. Does the chair really fold up and really bloom like a lotus flower or is it just a joke? I mean, can you really bundle up the chair and make it look like a closed flower? It’s a very unique and mesmerizing artifact all on its own, even without the story and perhaps I’ll start looking around to see if they have found a backer for the chair. And like you said, what next, a little facsimile rug for power room so people can pretend to worship in privacy?

Posted by Rugs on 07/13 at 12:22 PM
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