A marble figure of a Jina Gujarat or Rajasthan, circa 11th century
Lot 77W
A marble figure of a Jina
Gujarat or Rajasthan, circa 11th century
Sold for US$ 317,000 inc. premium

Lot Details
A marble figure of a Jina Gujarat or Rajasthan, circa 11th century A marble figure of a Jina Gujarat or Rajasthan, circa 11th century A marble figure of a Jina Gujarat or Rajasthan, circa 11th century A marble figure of a Jina Gujarat or Rajasthan, circa 11th century
A marble figure of a Jina
Gujarat or Rajasthan, circa 11th century
Of classic form, with the Jina seated in double lotus on an ornate cushion of foliate motifs in jewel-like cartouches, the hem of his lower garment extending between his ankles, his flexed toes rest above his calves while the line of his tibias course the length of his lower legs, his hands rest in the attitude of meditation below his exquisitely modelled ample stomach, his rib cage rises in iconometrically prescribed diagonals towards his broad chest with the shrivatsa mark between his smooth pectorals, his arms extend from broad shoulders, his neck displays the trivali mark, flanked by the characteristic cubed ends of his pendulous earlobes, his charming face with a pronounced chin and rounded cheeks either side of an abstracted nose rising to high arched eyebrows and elegant almond shaped eyes, his hair in tight curls forming a series of raised nodules enfolding the low ushnisha and a sigmoid hairline.
17 1/4 in. (53.8 cm) high

Footnotes

  • Few Jain images are as iconic as the white marble meditating Jina. The stone's color connotes the embodied spiritual purity of the Jina, one of twenty-four spiritual exemplars who attained the ultimate goal of liberating their souls from the cycle of death and rebirth. Their image functions to inspire and remind the devotee of the tenets of the faith, as well as its rewards. As Key Chapple notes with reference to a similar, later example in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the ornate cushion on which he is seated emphasizes both his status as a revered being as well as his ability to flourish even after surrendering all attachments (Diamond (ed.), Yoga: The Art of Transformation, Washington, DC, 2013, pp. 132-5). He sits in meditation wherein no violence can be envisaged, and meditating on him in turn diverts the spirit away from earthly desire and affliction and towards the transcendent (van Alphen, Steps to Liberation, Antwerp, 2000, p.43).

    The sculpture's material originates from the vast marble deposits surrounding the revered Mount Abu, which borders Northern Gujarat and Western Rajasthan. Close interactions between these two regions formed a composite "Maru-Gurjara" style (R Parimoo, Treasures from the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum, Ahmedabad, 2013, p. 30). Jainism flourished in Western India between the 10th and 12th centuries, with many temples commissioned under the Solanki and Later Pratihara dynasties. The apex of craftsmanship is embodied in the Dilwara temples on Mount Abu itself. Judging from the piece's size and quality, it would likely have served as central devotional image of a smaller temple, or an icon housed in a shrine on the outer perimeter of a larger temple.

    Stylistically, this sculpture bears close resemblance in almost all respects to a Jina attributed to the second half of the 12th century found in Gujarat and now held in the British Museum (OA 1915.5-15.1), but the chubbier face and the more naturalistic treatment of the hips and waistline on the present lot suggest a slightly earlier date of production. The archaeological record seems to show a general movement towards greater abstraction in the 12th century. This trend can be observed by contrasting two standing Jinas from Ladol, Gujarat now in the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum, Ahmedabad: one an 11th century figure of Parshvanath (#222), and the other, a figure of Shantinath, dated to 1269 CE (#218, see ibid., pp. 30-1). The former's sigmoid hairline, round face, ushnisha, earlobes, and waist also compare closely with the present sculpture. This development is similarly present when contrasting a Jina attributed to the second half of the 11th century in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1992.131) with the aforementioned example in the Virginia Museum of Arts (2000.98), dated to 1160 CE.

    Furthermore, his softly-featured, plump face parallels the attractive modelling on at least two Hindu marble sculptures from 11th century Sirohi: one of Brahmani held in the Albert Hall Museum, Jaipur (CMJ 33/65, see Ahuja, The Body in Indian Art and Thought, Brussels, 2013, no. 149, p. 131) and another, likely of Sarasvati, in the William Price Collection held in the Amarillo Museum of Art (see N. Rao, Boundaries & Transformations, Texas, 1998, fig. 17, p. 22), as well as a Vidyadevi of unknown provenance in the Cleveland Museum of Art (1972.152). Sirohi sculptures are arguably the most attractive type of the style and period. With his sweet expression and uplifting face, the present lot is perhaps the most endearing of its kind.

    Provenance:
    Private Canadian Collection
    Acquired from Spink & Son Ltd, London, 1995
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