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Album painting. The faithful of the cult of Tantra regarded sexual intercourse as the essential rite of initiation enabling them to accede to knowledge. The two principles Shiva (male) and Shakti (his wisdom, embodied by the female), merged in the couple and were transcended in the sexual embrace. Country of Origin: India. Culture: Hindu. Date/Period: Late 18th/early 19th century. Credit Line: Werner Forman Archive/Private collection. Location: 19.