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Carlos Cruañas
Asian Art

Altar with multiple Jinas
India, 15th century CE
Height 42 cm

The most interesting aspect of this bronze is its frame with 55 symmetrically arranged jinas surrounding the central figure (Parshvanatha) which illustrate Jain belief in the existence of an infinity of jinas: According to the eminent Jain scholar, Paul Dundas, this multiplicity is related to the jain concept of eras of time, conventionally represented as a continual series of upward and downward turns of the wheel [1], twenty-four lords appear, one after the other. There are elephants, lions and goddesses on the base. An inscription in Devanagari script appears
on the back of this altar.

[1] Based on a quotation in: Pratapadityia Pal, “Peaceful liberators”. Jain Art from India. Los Angeles, Thames & Hudson, Los Angeles County Museum, 1994.

all text, images © Carlos Cruañas


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