Asian Art
Indian subcontinent gallery See nearby items (accurate to +/- 12 hrs)
ON DISPLAY
LVL 1
Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh, India

Column for a Jain temple 10th-11th century Materials & Technique: sculptures, sandstone
Dimensions: 136.8 h x 34.0 w x 26.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1998
Accession No: NGA 98.77
Provenance:
  • The supplied chain of ownership for this object is being reviewed and further research is underway. The provenance information listed has been substantiated by documentation. Details may be refined and updated as research progresses.
  • sold at Sotheby's auction, New York
  • to the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 16 September 1998 for USD 74,000
  • Jainism was established during the sixth century BCE. Like Buddhism, Jainism was largely formed in opposition to Brahmanism, which emphasised sacrificial rituals and the hierarchical caste system. In contrast, Jainism advocates truth, detachment, self-discipline and modesty, and opposes all violence and discrimination. The Jain religion centres on the worship of twenty-four Jinas, liberated beings whose lives epitomised Jain ideals.

    Jain architectural monuments, typically adorned inside and out with elaborate carvings, are among the oldest and most sophisticated in India. It is the serene elegance of Jina imagery, however, that most strongly reflects the asceticism central to the religion. The standing Jina of this column is naked, indicating that this image was made for members of the Digambara or ‘sky clad’ sect of Jainism. Digambara monks disassociate themselves from all earthly possessions, including clothing. The Jina’s only adornments are the whorls around the nipples and the shrivatsa mark, an auspicious and ancient symbol, on his chest. The Jina holds lotus blossoms in each hand, while his long arms hang away from the body in a pose representing body-abandonment (kayotsarga). Attendants with flywhisks, celestial garland bearers and elephant riders surround the Jina.


    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
    From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008

  • Jain temple buildings are adorned, inside and out, with carvings. Many depict Jinas, the 24 emancipated beings or saviours revered by Jain followers. This sculpture formed part of an elaborate temple facade.

    The central standing Jina is naked, indicating that this image was made for members of the Digambara or ‘sky clad’ sect who disassociate themselves from earthly possessions, including clothing. His only adornment is the auspicious srivatsa mark on his chest and characteristic whorls around the nipples. The Jina holds lotus blossoms in each hand while his long arms hang away from the body in a pose representing body-abandonment (kayotsarga). Attendants with flywhisks, celestial garland bearers and elephant riders surround the Jina. A second Jina, seated in the pose of meditation and flanked by saints, appears above.


    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
    From: Asian gallery extended display label