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Millner Manolatos

THE TEMPLE OF JAGANNATH AT PURI
Orissa, Eastern India
19th century
Dimensions: 83x137cm

Gouache on cloth (patachitra), of rectangular form, depicting the temple with its iconic trinity, Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra in the sanctum, surrounded within the walled enclosure by further shrines containing images of various Vaishnavite deities, including further images of Jagannath, the area outside depicting the world in the form of a lozenge-shaped medallion, with the oceans and the heavens beyond

Provenance: Private Collection, France.?

Jagannath is the "Lord of the World", a form of Krishna worshipped at the famous shrine at Puri in Orissa. Jagannath and his brother, Balabhadra, and their sister, Subhadra, are worshipped as a trio, always depicted with large round eyes and often handless arms. The cult is an example of the characteristic ability of Hinduism to absorb popular local cults into the mainstream. It is likely that the link between Jagannath and Vaisnavism occurred after the cult was well established, and that the distinctive appearance of the trio is redolent of a simple village cult Paintings of this type were produced as mementoes for pilgrims visiting the famous temple in the seaside town of Puri, built in the 12th century AD by Anantavarman Codagangadeva. For a similar painting on cloth in the British Museum, acquired in 1880, see Blurton, p.35. See also Jain, p.121, for an example in the National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum, New Delhi. This type of cloth painting was also produced for Jain pilgrims in western India. See Pal, Jain, no.117

all text & images Millner Manolatos

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