The Grammar of Jina Iconography I (Part 1)

Published: 01.09.2011
Updated: 02.07.2015

The following article by Prof. Klaus Bruhn was published in Berliner Indologische Studien No. 8. 1995, pp. 229-283. PLEASE NOTE: The printed version of this article contains some photos which were currently not available for the online publication but will be added as soon as possible.


The Grammar of Jina Iconography I (Part 1)

§ 1. Prolegomena

The present article is based on published and unpublished studies undertaken between 1980 and 1995.

The concept of type, which is central to this paper (the title might have been "grammar of the Jina type") has already been outlined in tentative form in a lecture given in 1982 in Paris at the Nouvelle Sorbonne. The general pattern of this paper (Jaina iconography, more particularly Jina iconography) is largely based on a manuscript prepared several years ago for a supplemental volume of the Enciclopedia del'Arte (forthcoming). However, the actual starting point has been provided by two papers which appeared in the years 1985 (on "identification") and 1986 (on "analysis"). We start our present enquiry with seven sections (§§ 1-7) which are an introduction to the article proper, a critical outline of earlier studies (1956-77), and finally a modification of parts of the three referenced publications.

The dedication is a token of respect for the late Dr. U.P. Shah who studied Jaina iconography as a subject in its own right and who made the present writer aware of the vast potential of this subject. Many days spent in Dr. U.P. Shah's hospitable house in the mid-fifties are not forgotten.

Instead of taking up the relevant problems straightaway we would like to mention at the beginning two factors which are to some extent at the root of our scheme. More often than not, research is not exactly guided but clearly influenced by certain premises, one such premise being in the case of Indology the alleged unity of Indian culture. Nobody will deny that Indian culture does show considerable unity, but it is not monolithic and we have to consider diversity as well. To be more precise, we have to accept the striking diversity which is revealed by empirical research, and not to insinuate basic harmony in cases where the harmony is clearly limited. There are of course different forms of diversity, but our methodology is mainly determined by the disagreement between images and texts (see below).

The second premise to be mentioned in the present context is the emphasis on development as the foremost subject of art-historical research (iconography and style). Here we feel that the partiality for the study of development should not prevent us from studying with equal care the explosive development of Indian art after A.D. 800 (F.M. Asher's caesura). In this later period we witness an increase in quantity, which is also an increase in substance and which leads away from purely diachronic and development-based approaches to synchronic approaches. That ultimately both approaches can be and must be integrated is more than obvious, but that does not remove the basic difference. Be that as it may, our methodology (§§ 1-7) is mainly concerned with the conditions after 800, while the actual analysis of the Jina type (§§ 8-9 and Parts II-III) pays attention both to the post-800 period and to the earlier period.

Our methodology is not a complete theory of Indian iconography, and also not a complete guide to the description of Indian iconography. Thus the question how the artists characterized the images and how we can identify the images has not been treated in a systematic manner. The same applies to the taxing issue of form-principles (§ 5). It is, nevertheless, possible to describe in a fairly exhaustive manner the main topics of our methodology.

We have arranged our methodological topics (§§ 1-7) in two groups. For the first group of topics we can use the catch-word "unity dissected". There is first of all the fundamental difference between image and text as mentioned already. This will be treated in more detail at the end of the present section. As the next topic (§ 7) we mention the differences of period and province. This topic includes also the position of the Digambara-Śvetāmbara difference in the wider frame of Jaina iconography. A less obvious case of dissection concerns the different iconographic modes (§ 6). The different materials (stone etc.) and techniques (sculpture etc.) form a fourth topic, but in that case a discussion could be dispensed with. The second group of topics consists of four "basic concepts": type (§§ 2-3), slot-filler analysis ("SF analysis": § 3), partial motifs (§ 4), and form-principles (§ 5).

In spite of its limitations the methodological scheme can be described as a study in systematics. Systematics is a scientific "genre", but a genre with an undefined status. It includes organizing devices which are more rigorous than the usual divisions of books and papers. The genre helps to spotlight topics which have not found sufficient attention in previous research. We mention in the present case the importance of "description" as different from "identification" as well as the role of Eastern India in the development of Jaina iconography. Such major or minor improvements are amongst the arguments which can be adduced in favour of the said genre.

The difference between image and text is the main aspect of diversity. "Text" stands in this case for Śilpaśāstra, Purāṇa, etc. The difference may also be described as the difference between art and literature, although the expression "art and literature" can also be used in other ways. The unity premise or harmony premise would assert that, in most respects, the artists simply "followed" the texts, but we feel that only the analysis of each individual case can show whether the artists respected the texts or not. The view that the artists followed the texts has been almost topical for a considerable time, although it was never the opinion of all workers in the field, and although, more recently, criticism of the harmony premise has come to stay (see Maxwell Śi). Nowadays it is no longer a question of whether or not there is always or mostly a textual basis for a piece of iconoplastic art. Rather is it necessary to remove in the case of the more involved research problems the "strings" of the texts. In the case of the Jina.s, for example, we have to replace the study of twenty-four separate Jina.s - as suggested by the texts - by more adequate forms of description and analysis (§§ 8-9). On a still higher level we can argue that the combined authority of the images and the texts - but again mainly the authority of the latter - has produced a disproportionate interest in identification, so that description as independent from identification has receded into the background. The new line ("description") is mainly contained in our § 3.

The criticism of the texts as sole guides compels us in the end to replace the grammar of the texts by a new grammar. This new grammar is no longer a stereotyped descriptive scheme as contained in the Śilpaśāstra.s, but a particularized grammar, dealing separately with selected segments of Indian iconography. There are several ways of isolating such segments, but the main segmentation, and the one which serves as the basis for "new grammars" (now in the plural), is the segmentation into types, as described by us in §§ 2-3.

The texts as introduced above do not form a uniform testimonial but a conglomeration of different elements, written or oral. We distinguish between the following:

  1. The transmitted myths and legends (e.g. the Anantaśayana myth).
  2. The unrecorded "proto-mythology" (myths behind unexplained hand-attributes of the deities and lost traditions concerning the nāgaization of the Jina, the Buddha etc.).
  3. Individual myths that got lost but have been represented in art (e.g. the myths underlying the "Sūrya" and "Indra" panels at Bhaja). This category must be mentioned even if such cases are rare.
  4. The general pattern of "Śilpaśāstra descriptions" as derived from iconoplastic art with its countless hand-attributes and vāhana.s.
  5. The actual Śilpaśāstra texts (e.g. the descriptions of the yakṣa.s and yakṣī.s of Jainism).
  6. The lost Śilpaśāstra texts. The "lost texts" are mostly hypothetical and their existence is claimed when local iconography is not in agreement with the available texts. That a text or two did in fact get lost, is a different matter which may or may not affect iconographic studies.

In addition to the literary testimonials we have to consider local conventions. This expression covers well-established conventions lasting over generations as well as ephemeral developments of every description. The earliest cihna.s of the Jina.s are double cihna.s (§ 9), and such a mode can be called a "local convention" or even a "minor canonization." But wrong cihna.s are also found, and they must be viewed in a different manner. They might have been the result of ephemeral local attitudes or they might have in fact been produced by the proverbial whim of the artist. It is also necessary to consider the uncertain origins of local iconographic programmes. We do not know who was actually responsible for the iconography of the wall-figures and images, learned monks (and pandits), influential members of the temple committees, donors, or simply artists. We can of course always speak of "the artist," but then "the artist" is a construction rather than a reality.

It must be noted that the language of the Śilpaśāstra.s was not the proper instrument of describing images in toto. Since dresses, ornaments, and body marks have in fact been mentioned, it would not be altogether unexpected if one also came across attempts to describe them in more detail and to deal with other elements such as the jaṭā with its puzzling morphological variety as well. But this would have required the creation of a specific iconographic/stylistic language, and, apart from rudimentary efforts, nothing of this type has ever been produced.

We do not propose a typology of the differences between art and literature, but we would like to spotlight the attitude of the average observer who takes the adequacy of the iconographic cosmos as a mirror of literary traditions (and the general reliability of literary traditions as guides to the iconographic cosmos) for granted, thus demonstrating that to this day many phenomena have not been studied critically. Even systematic research hardly focuses attention on such strange developments as the various hair-styles of the Jina which have practically no basis in the Jina legend.

Historical studies are faced with image-text problems of more than one type. In spite of numerous iconographic and literary parallels, we must admit that the incorporation of the nāga iconography into the Jina iconography (Pārśva and Supārśva) was an iconographic tow deforce. Perhaps we should in such cases not only mention what we understand but also what we do not understand. In conclusion we have to underline that image-text divergences of one type or another will never make the comparison or coordination of both sides superfluous. In more than one case, careful coordination is the sine qua non for a systematic study of the history of a type (see Gail Aś).

§2. Type

"Types" as we understand them are always "types as found in art." The concept is largely based on the texts (see § 1 for "texts"), but the exact definition of a type is undertaken with reference to the artistic representations. A goddess mentioned in literature in one way or another, but not found in art, can never be regarded as a type, while a goddess who is clearly perceptible in art, although unknown to literature, will be accepted as a type. As mentioned in § 1, types are the units towards which our methodological research is directed. Since there is not and cannot be a general grammar of Indian iconography, we have to find proper methods for the adequate description of our individual types from case to case. It may of course be necessary to give some thought to the way of studying a (prospective) type before the type is accepted as a practical proposition. It could be argued, for example, that the Jina forms three different types (Ṛṣabha, Pārśva, non-Ṛ-non-P), or, that all Jina.s (including even Bharata, Bāhubali, and Jīvantasvāmin) form only one single type. Here it is only after careful consideration of all the facts that the matter can be decided. No doubt, our decision in this case (24 Jina.s = one type) shows maximum agreement with the texts, but that is the peculiarity of the case and should not be regarded as more or less typical of the procedure of type definition.

A fuller exposition of the concept of type would also include a discussion of the inadequacy of many types which are suggested by literature, a short description of some selected types, a discussion of the general practicability of a list (scheme) of types as it is under review, and a few observations on the general utility of units - such as the iconographic types - in the study of art or literature. We can mention in short that "historical and political allegory" (Asher Hi) does not influence the evolution of a type. There are indeed many factors which influence this evolution, but the allegorical role is not amongst them.

Further details concerning the concept of type are contained in the following list of guide-lines (criteria) for the definition of the types.

  1. As mentioned already, our types are primarily, but by no means always, based on literary evidence. The tutelary couple of Jaina iconography (§ 6 below) is nowhere mentioned in the texts or in inscriptions, but, in the area of art, it forms a normal type. Such non-literary types receive their names from the modern scholar. An example of the opposite case is supplied by the twenty-four yakṣa.s and twenty-four yakṣī.s of the Jina.s who are described in the Digambara and Śvetāmbara texts at full length but are, with few exceptions, nowhere shown in art. Whole-sale inclusion in our scheme of types is therefore out of the question. Those few yakṣa.s and yakṣī.s who actually have a place in art are of course in most cases types in the sense of our definition.
  2. In type definition, textual gods and goddesses can be split or combined with other gods and goddesses. In our scheme, the twenty-four Jina.s form one type; Nṛvarāha and Nsiha form two types; Nvarāha and animal Varāha also form two types, and the Jaina goddess Ambikā forms one type together with the Hindu goddess Ambikā. Whenever we have not been guided by the theological system, we have followed the simple principle that one single type should not be too heterogeneous and that two different types should not be too similar. Generally speaking, our system of types is "flat" (all types have the same status), whereas the system present in the texts is hierarchical. According to the texts, Nṛvarāha is a form of Varāha, and Varāha a form of Viṣṇu. See also pos. 4 below.
  3. The types are not uniform in character. There are animal types and human types, regular types and hybrid types, types consisting of one character and types consisting of two characters. There are, finally, frequent types and rare types, simple types (without a grammar worth the name) and complex types (with true grammars). The result is considerable variety even though many figures/images have been excluded from our scheme of types in order to avoid uncontrolled growth.
  4. We introduce types, but neither lower types (or "subtypes") nor higher types (or "families of types"). This economy (only one plane instead of three) simplifies the scheme. Jina and Jīvantasvāmin are two different types (so that there are no higher types such as "Jina and related characters"), whereas Pārśva.s and non-Pārśva.s form one single type (and not two subtypes).

Different from the formal vocabulary of the scheme is the ad hoc vocabulary which can be used to describe the internal organization of a specific segment of the material. In informal language we can, for example, call all the non-Pārśva.s a subtype and Pārśva another subtype (consisting in this case of one single Jina). It would likewise be possible to describe, from the perspective of the Jina type, Jina, Jīvantasvāmin, Bharata, and Bāhubali as members of one single family of types which are all based on the Jina. There are, however, limits even to such an informal procedure. We cannot call all twenty-four Jina.s "subtypes", and we cannot establish "families of types" (including, for example, a family of types based on Viṣṇu) ad libitum.

An internal subdivision of the types is furthermore produced by broad iconographic differences such as "two-armed" and "four-armed". Refer in this connection to p. 240 below for Mode I.

The scheme as such is determined by formal pressures, and not by the wish to produce a model of the iconographic pantheon. The case of an individual type is different. The description of a type is in fact the model of a certain "segment" of the iconographic pantheon and mirrors that segment as faithfully as possible (see also Gülich Te: 15 on the concept of model).

  1. A configuration of two types (Kalyāṇasundara) or two halved types (Harihara) can be classified as one single type. However, the basic information about the elements will always be given in connection with the corresponding elementary types (e.g. Śiva as found inter alia in K., Pārvatī as found inter alia in K.).
  2. Configurations of three or four characters (e.g. "Vaikuṇṭha") and groups (e.g. the Aṣṭamātṛkā.s) are treated as supplementary units without the status of types. The elements are in most cases types in their own right and can be treated as such. Whatever the actual difference of treatment between pos. 5 and 6, the inclusion of pos. 6 into the scheme of types is out of the question, and the non-inclusion of pos. 5 would have obvious disadvantages.
  3. Characters found exclusively as subsidiary figures (e.g. Daṇḍin and Pigala in the case of Sūrya) do not have the status of types, but are treated as motifs, i.e. as parts of the relevant types.
  4. From the point of view of definition, some types are simple while others are difficult. The difference is linked to various factors. The Jina type is simple since it is in perfect agreement with the theological (textual) system, and it is difficult because we have to consider the difference between Pārśva.s and non-Pārśva.s. Some types are simple throughout (Sūrya, Śea-Nārāyana, Sarasvatī, Mahiṣāsura-mardini, Gaeśa), whereas others (e.g. types based on Avalokiteśvara) can only be isolated, and designated as "types", after an adequate study of the material.
  5. The description of a type is subject to formal rules. We always use the same term for the same type; types can be arranged in an informal manner within the three areas of Jaina, Buddhist, and Hindu iconography; and the types are to be understood as corpuses of images. The totality of all types will form a corpus on the highest level. The corpus principle implies cataloguing and mapping on the lower as well as on the upper levels.

The problem of "arrangement" as mentioned in pos. 9 must be solved from case to case. Jaina iconography can be treated as a self-contained category where a list of types is established without great difficulty. A tentative list for Jaina iconography will include the following names: Jina, Jīvantasvāmin, Bharata, Bāhubali, Kubera and Ambikā, Kubera alone (Jaina and non-Jaina), Ambikā alone (Jaina and non-Jaina), Sarasvatī (Jaina and non-Jaina), Gomukha and Cakreśvarī, Cakreśvarī alone (Cakreśvarī and Vaiṣṇavī), the tutelary couple (p. 248), and finally the resting queen (Zehmke Fr: 1.5.). Hindu and Buddhist iconography form wider areas than Jaina iconography. A subdivision would be desirable in both cases but this issue cannot be discussed here.

Considering the difficulties of establishing a new and autonomous scheme of types, one might ask whether the theological/literary "system" would not serve the same purpose. This may be correct for the most part in other contexts, but our methodology cannot do without well-defined units as provided by our types. These types answer to certain common formal demands, even if they differ considerably from one another. Thus we can always say what our types look like - they all have a substantial common denominator - whereas nobody can say what pantheon figures "with many forms'' like Mañjuśrī look like.

§ 3. Type and slot-filler analysis

Our second "basic concept" is slot-filler analysis. The starting point of SF analysis is the clearly visible "grid" of medieval or early-medieval compositions. The grid (schema) is subject to variation, but in Northern India it is fairly homogeneous as far as images of the four centuries from 800 to 1200 are concerned. However, the origins date back to the phase before 800, and what takes place after 800 is only the full elaboration of the grid. Refer for demonstration to suitable series of illustrations (Bruhn Di: figs. 15-16, Gupte Aj: pl. 105, Huntington Pā: figs. 238-44, Mankodi Qu: fig. 93) and to graphs bearing on the matter (Bautze-Picron St: 123-31, Bruhn An: 174, Mankodi Qu: fig. xxiv opposite p. 208).

SF analysis introduces the terms "slot" and "filler" in order to utilize the grid structure as a vehicle of description (Bruhn Id: § 2, Bruhn An: §§ 6-7). The uniform pattern of the images is subdivided into different segments or slots, and one always compares, in principle, corresponding slots. Corresponding slots may have identical fillers or different fillers, both cases being of the same importance. As a consequence it becomes possible to describe two or more than two different images in a systematic manner, comparing them slot by slot and concentrating thereby on the diverging fillers. Thus nine slots of two or more than two images may show the same fillers, while one single slot has diverging fillers, which are the truly relevant fillers. Some Deogarh Jinas differ for example only in their attendant figure slots, having either two male cāmara-bearers or Kubera-and-Ambikā (JID: § 122 and p. 237 below). Under such circumstances, it is possible to describe related images in a consolidated form, by merely adding a reference to the comparatively small number of filler differences to the combined description of the identical fillers (see also p. 241 below on image description). As a consequence, the status of the individual image is reduced in principle, and groups of related images become the real units below the level of the respective type.

SF analysis can be used for images belonging to the same type and for images belonging to different types. It is, however, essential that the difference between the respective grids is not too great, and accordingly the effectiveness of SF analysis increases with the grid similarity of the images concerned.

Before linking the concept of SF analysis with the concept of type (pp. 238-43), we supply two tabular descriptions, the first explaining the basic character of SF analysis and the second explaining specific aspects of SF analysis. This is the first description:

Slot: Attendant figures

  1. Jina vs. Sūrya (Northern India). Standard formula for the Jina: two male cāmara-bearers (Williams Gu: pls. 12-13); Jina images with Kubera and Ambikā have no cāmara-bearers (Shah Ak: pl. 22). Most common attendants of Sūrya: Daṇḍin and Piṅgala (Banerji Bh: pl. 14a).
  2. Pārśva vs. non-Pārśva.s. Pārśva is often shown with irregular attendants such as "nāga as cāmara-bearers and nāgī as parasol-bearer" (JID: fig. 38). These irregularities are never found with non-Pārśva.s.

Slot: Object above the head

  1. Jina vs. Buddha (Mahāyāna Buddhism). Jina (non-Pārśva): triple parasol ± tree; Buddha: tree, single parasol, etc. See Asher Ea: pls. 182 (Jina with parasol) and 180 (Buddha with tree), Huntington Pā: fig. 38 (Buddha with parasol). - Regional varieties of the "tree" have not been considered.
  2. Jina vs. ācārya (Deogarh). Jina: "triple parasol"; ācārya: "miniature Jina" and/or "roof of slanting parasol." See JID: fig. 210 and fig. 2 below. Refer also to § 6 below for the irregular "iconographic mode" of the ācārya motif (the ācārya is no type).

We now add the second description:

  1. SF analysis is restricted to iconoplastic art (and helps to define it), but, as mentioned already, it is not restricted to stelae and comparable compositions which show a "grid" in the sense of a visible system of slots. It applies likewise to simple images, not only for general reasons, but also because infra-type analysis (see pp. 239-41) cannot ignore the early and less developed forms of a type - or the Southern forms where the "grid" is less pronounced; furthermore it goes without saying that SF analysis also includes simple renderings of the types as they appear as motifs in various forms of compositions, e.g. subsidiary figures on a stele. In the opposite case, i.e. in connection with highly elaborate representations of a type, SF analysis concentrates on the basic zones rather than on the extensions (see JID, fig. 31: irregular extension at the top of the composition).
  2. Slot-filler analysis covers the entire composition. A hand-attribute has "its" slot in the same way in which an attendant figure (cāmara-bearer etc.) has "its" slot. The body likewise occupies a specific slot. This rule is mainly introduced as the result of general (formal) considerations, since, from the point of view of our scheme, the entire composition consists of slots, without any dichotomy between the body and the remaining motifs. Some parts of the body function as sub-slots (hands, head), while other parts are iconographically passive. A subsidiary figure is likewise a slot with possible hand-attributes etc. as fillers of sub-slots. The procedure (analysis in terms of slots and sub-slots) is mechanical and ignores the formal structure of the images which follows the principle of hierarchic scaling (bigger and smaller figures).
  3. We already indicated that precise and comprehensive SF analysis is only possible if the material is homogeneous, a condition which is more or less guaranteed by an adequate definition of the subject of the analysis. If the images do not show sufficient uniformity, it becomes necessary to consider diverging parts of the compositions, e.g. diverging pedestals, as undivided zones (cf. Bautze-Picron St: 109-10) and to reserve the division into separate slots for the isomorphous (related) parts.
  4. Some elements require special attention. The distribution of a specific set of hand-attributes over the hands (e.g placement of the four standard attributes of the four-armed Viṣṇu) is fixed in some cases and subject to change in other cases. Again, a great number of arms produces an inflation of hand-attributes where the importance of the individual hand-attribute is reduced. The cihna.s which help to identify the Jina.s are often not clearly marked as such, so that the distinction between cihna.s and other motifs becomes difficult (see § 9).

SF analysis paves the way for a formal description of "type as such" (pos. a-d). The description is on the one hand ideal-typical or general, and on the other hand determined by the special consideration of a selected type. The selected type, in our case the Jina (see below), serves as a guide. Due to differences of the type used as a guide (e.g. Buddha or Avalokiteśvara types instead of the Jina type) there are bound to be minor differences in different formal descriptions of "type as such."

  1. The nuclear type. The individual "nuclear type" is the common denominator of all the images belonging to a specific type. Whether or not it is necessary to give an exact description of this nuclear type depends on the character of the type. In the case of the Jina type, an exact description would require several statements such as "the Jina is shown seated or standing," "the hands of the Jina are relaxed," and "no objects are connected with the body of the Jina." In the case of Sūrya, the two lotuses would belong to the nuclear type. The description of the nuclear type is not identical with a short clue for the identification of a type. Such clues are plain in some cases and complicated in others. A male figure with the head of a boar, and with no further heads, is invariably Nṛvarāha. In the case of the Jina, we need a more sophisticated formula (probably "either no dress at all or dhoti alone" and "no objects in the hands").
  2. General conventions with the status of recommendations. No motif outside the nuclear type is compulsory, but many motifs are "recommended" either in all or in some provinces of Indian art. In the case of the Jina, the lion-throne is recommended in all provinces, whereas the Sarnath motif (dharmacakra with antelopes) is only recommended in Western India. However, numerous images consist of nuclear motifs alone without additional elements.
  3. Foreign elements in the art of a region. Within one and the same region the rendering of a type is based on a limited number of current motifs (partial motifs), but sometimes we find motifs known from other regions. We mention the Gwalior Jina.s (figs. 11-15) who have the double-drum known from Eastern India (JAA: pl. 325A; our fig. 17), and a bronze Jina from Vasantagadh (JRM: fig. 34) who has a jaṭā (flat jaṭā), which comes from Central India and ultimately from Eastern India (fig. 10).
  4. Irregularities. Many Jina images display features which cannot be derived from any regional canon. Some irregularities are due to the endless fluctuations in the morphology of the jaṭā and of the snake elements of the Pārśva iconography, while others are distinct. In the case of the distinct irregularities, we have to look for parallels in order to distinguish them from mere solecisms and to integrate them into the frame of Jina iconography. So far we have no parallels in the case of the peculiar crescent cihna.s of two Ṛṣabha.s from Chausa (p. 258), but in other cases strange features are supported by parallels. An instance of the latter type are the numerous cihna irregularities in Eastern and Central India (pp. 258-59).

The formal description of type as such can do without the term "attribute." This term can be used without hesitation when the difference between two types (or two figures generally speaking) is minimal. Thus the Jina.s are in most cases distinguished from one another only by their cihna.s so that it would be permissible though unusual to call the cihna an "attribute" which characterizes the individual Jina.s. In this case we can distinguish between the identified figure (the Jina) and the identifying agent (the cihna). A similar situation arises if the representations of the gods and goddesses are so stereotyped that we can describe a god simply as a "male figure plus attributes so and so," the number of attributes being small and most of them belonging to the category of hand-attributes. But projected on the background of Indian art in general, this case is at any rate not the rule. The very concept of the stele, which is iconographically richer than a figure modelled in the round, makes it impossible to proceed on the basis of a simple distinction between the "figure" and its "attributes."

The analysis of individual types is mainly required for Indian art after AD. 800. We distinguish between the basic procedure of infra-type analysis and the auxiliary procedure of inter-type analysis. Infra-type analysis is used for classification and for other purposes. Our scheme of classification (infra-type analysis) takes the form of three different "modes".

We begin with Mode I which is basically mechanical:

  • A specific god or goddess is seated: standing;
  • A specific god or goddess is provided with two arms: provided with four (six...) arms;
  • The Jina is naked: wears a dhoti;
  • Narasiha is shown with Hirayakaśipu: without Hiraṇyakaśipu;
  • The resting queen is shown with a child: without a child.

Mode I can be used independently and as a part of Mode n. The number of values (e.g. 2, 4, 6... pairs of arms) is always limited.

Mode II is more concrete than Mode I. It considers the images in their entirety (style and iconography), and it includes different forms of classification required for different types and in certain cases even for one and the same type. In the case of the Jina (our example) we will employ Mode II in the following manner. We assume that we have to consider ca. 2000 Jina images which are worthy of description. We will then subdivide the whole corpus into six regional corpuses as mentioned on p. 251 below (Eastern India etc.). As the next step, each region must be subclassified in its own peculiar way. In Central India, the distinction between "early-medieval'' and "medieval" is of considerable importance and produces a dichotomy for the time after 800. If we concentrate on Jaina art after 800 we have furthermore to separate, in the case of the early-medieval style, Pārśva.s from non-Pārśva.s and standing from seated images. For Deogarh we can present a definite scheme which is derived from our previous publications and which stands more or less for Central India in general:

  • Early medieval
    • standing
      • non-Parsva.s
      • Parsva.s
    • seated (Pārśva.s and non-Pārśva.s)
  • -Medieval
    • Four "Classes" (JID: Chapters 11, 12, 13, 15)

The italicized position has been executed in Bruhn An under the heading of "motif-statistics."

Mode II already stands for concrete units, but a third mode (Mode III) can be added which is related to Mode II and demands special interest in stylistic detail. Mode III establishes small groups of closely related images. It is furthermore irregular in the sense that a segment out of the totality of Jina images (i.e. a segment isolated according to Mode II) is divided into groups of different size and isolated images (e.g. 15+5+3+1 + 1), whereas the division on the level of Mode II is more regular (e.g. 30 + 25 + 20). As an example of treatment according to Mode III we mention the discussion of a single early-medieval group of Jina images in JID: §§ 147-51 ("Throne-Frame Class"). For the sub-classification of a complete "Mode II corpus" according to Mode III we mention the treatment of the "Classes" and "Groups" of early-medieval Jina images at Deogarh (see JID: x-xi).

Infra-type analysis as based on SF analysis also paves the way for further research strategies, i.e. variation assessment, image description, rough description of the types, and description of the development of the types: -

Infra-type analysis tells us at once how far the images of a type differ from one another (variation assessment). Whereas we know very well that all Jina.s are either standing or seated (etc., etc.) we do not know right from the beginning that there are also vast differences. Such differences may be connected with the greater or lesser complexity of the images or with variable motifs such as the tree above the Jina (e.g. Pal Cy I: 63 against PJA: fig. 77). While variation assessment thus helps us to appreciate a type in general, we need techniques of image description in order to bring out the peculiarities of individual images (e.g. in a descriptive catalogue). Although, for obvious reasons, fairly complete descriptions cannot be avoided altogether, we definitely need a better balance between the familiar description of general features (recurring with a greater or lesser number of related images) and the pointed description of singular features (occurring exclusively or almost exclusively with the image under review). In our discussion of figs. 11-17 we have tried to accentuate the singular features. The rough description of the types (pos. a-d) is an old desideratum, but to this day we do not have a single publication which concentrates on this point. It is for example difficult for the non-specialist to find out that the attendant figures of the Jina are "two male cāmara-bearers" - with a well-defined number of exceptions. A publication giving the necessary answers in all cases would require a high degree of statistical exactitude (type x has in region … and in period … filler … for slot …). However, the problem of statistical exactitude should not be viewed as a major obstacle. The adequate description of the development of the types, our last strategy, is concerned with the intrats and exits of the individual motifs. In numerous cases we want to know when and where a motif such as "Kubera and Ambikā" entered the canon of Jaina iconography, and when and where it left it again.

Infra-type analysis of a given type is possible only in connection with an analysis of the surrounding images, i.e. in connection with inter-type analysis. It is only by way of comparison that I am able to distinguish between more and less relevant features. Generally speaking, characterization of a type is effected by the artists through motifs which are shown as well as through motifs which are not shown, but the frequency in other types (absent-rare-frequent and rare-frequent) is essential in both cases. The Jina is identified as a Jina not because he sits on a lion-throne, but on account of more specific features such as the absence of dress. Moreover "specificity" can be measured. If we use a tripartite division, we can say that some motifs are only found with one type, some only with few types, and some with very many types. In the case of the Jina we give the following examples: the triple parasol is (almost) only found with the Jina, the lion-throne is also found with other figures, mainly with the Buddha, and the lotus on which the Jina stands or sits is found with a great number of gods and goddesses. For the different cases we use the expressions "high", "middle", and "low" attribute value. This is however not to say that the Jina is mainly recognized by the motifs with high attribute value. The psychological process of recognition cannot be described with the vocabulary of iconography.

In the study of Indian sculptural art, the distinction between "iconographic" and "decorative" elements has come to stay. The difference corresponds to the difference between normal and negligible attribute values. A different matter is the implicit neglect of certain elements, mainly elements of the parikara, which do not seem to be iconographically relevant but which are not decorative either. We mention not only the parasol and the drum above the Jina, but also the cāmara-bearers and adorants on Pāla-Sena images. Triple parasol and single or double drum above the Jina have, as one knows, a very high attribute value. In the case of the Pāla-Sena subsidiary figures some restrictions arc obvious and a careful analysis can show where these figures are admitted and where not It is thus necessary to eliminate from our discussions the silent assumption of a neutral zone on the verge of the iconographic cosmos.

Comparisons have heuristic value but they do not form part of the systematic description of the types. As a consequence we use in our standard language only positive statements and avoid negative statements ("the Jina has no vāhana") which imply a comparison. The heuristic value of comparisons is now demonstrated by a few examples:

The three illustrations Asher Ea: pls. 180-82 (Buddha, Buddha, Ṛṣabha) present three different pedestal formulas. We find "lion with elephant, throne-blanket, lion with elephant" (pl. 180), "adorant, antelope, dharmacakra, antelope, elephant" (pl. 181), and "bull, dharmacakra, bull" (pl. 182). Here the first two formulas are admitted for the Buddha as well as for the Jina, while the third formula is only admitted for the Jina Ṛṣabha. Generally speaking, pedestals and "pedestal formulas" of all periods deserve more attention than they have received hitherto.

In Huntington Pā (figs. 238-41) we notice side by side Buddha, Śiva, Kārttikeya, and Sūrya, and all four figures, with the exception of the Buddha, are flanked by two female cāmara-bearers. This could stimulate an enquiry into the place of female cāmara-bearers (and cāmara-bearers in general) in Pāla-Sena iconography. The four stelae are closely related stylistically but hail from different localities.

The "frieze-slabs" at Deogarh (JID: § 231) show non-Jina.s besides Jina.s. For a comparison between Jina and Sarasvatī the reader is referred to fig. 1. We notice that Sarasvatī has adorants, halo, and garland-bearers in common with the Jina.s. By contrast, the throne-blanket (with cihna), the cāmara-bearers and the "parasol-unit" (Bruhn An: § 16) are missing. The artists have also not made any attempt to replace the parasol-unit by some other motif, the result being a gap which disturbs the rhythm of the sequence. Finally, the lion-throne formula of the Jina.s is replaced by a vāhana formula, the vāhana represented being Sarasvatī's goose. In the case of the slabs with ācārya.s (JID: fig. 210, fig. 2 below), we notice that the ācārya has only the bhāmaṇḍala (fig. 2), the cushion, and the garland-bearers in common with the Jina.s, the other parikara motifs being different. That the ācārya is no type, at least no type in the strict sense (§ 6), can be ignored in the present context. The frieze-slabs not only show the existence of restrictions (attribute value of certain motifs higher than expected) but also the strength of the restrictions which are maintained under unfavourable circumstances (danger of osmosis between different types or different figures in general).

§ 4. Partial motifs

Our third "basic concept" is the partial motif. The numerous monographs on Indian iconography include several studies in partial motifs. However, such studies have always been restricted to motifs which claim special interest for obvious reasons, "lotus", "throne", and "cakra" being telling examples. This special interest has mostly been based on the opinion that a given motif had a peculiar content quality so that exegesis became as important as formal description. By contrast, we consider the form primarily and pay attention (i) to partial motifs which are interesting per se (e.g. compare Bruhn Ve) and (ii) to partial motifs which are interesting due to their function in a composition (parasol of the Jina etc.). Our increased interest in partial motifs is connected with the shift of emphasis from identification, which is mainly identification of the whole, to description, which is automatically description of the whole as well as of its parts. We can add that our concept of the grammar of a given type has the advantage that the crucial partial motifs of the images are spotlighted in a way which not only makes photographic surveys easier but also encourages further studies. We need for example better photographs of the cihna.s, of the hairstyles of the Jina.s, of the figures attacking Pārśva, of the miniature renderings of the ācārya motif, and of the pedestals of the tutelary couples.

From the point of view of future research, the issue of partial motifs is to some extent linked with the issue of iconographic modes (§ 6). In many cases wall figures of every description, small figures on pillars, and miniature figures on slabs and theriomorphous Varāha.s show on the one hand deviations from the standard mode and have on the other hand the low status of partial motifs. This has so far prevented systematic studies. It is worthy of note that to this day the miniature figures of the theriomorphous Varāha.s have not been studied; see Gail Eb, fn. 46: "Eine genaue Analyse... steht noch aus."

The formal structure of the images varies considerably. This has the consequence that sometimes the partial motifs are almost lost in a complex composition (compare JRM: fig. 55), whereas in other cases the partial motifs are juxtaposed in a methodical manner (JRM: fig. 25). Both types are of equal interest. Again, our emphasis on partial motifs does not affect the aesthetic evaluation. Indeed, we treat the partial motifs of a composition separately, and we would explain different compositions mostly as different selections of partial motifs from a common regional or all-India pool. But all that is not to say that the artistic handling of the material is not adequately considered. It must nevertheless be admitted that our language is to some extent under the influence of the pool model. We do not say that elephants perform the abhiṣeka for the Jina (thereby referring to real elephants and the real action of the abhiṣeka), but we state in cases of this type simply in quasi-heraldic language "that abhiṣeka elephants are depicted on an image".

The concept of the partial motif takes us finally to the "terminological cycle of the image". When considering a single image in a general manner we use for the whole the terms image, stele (Bautze-Picron St: 107), and composition, and for the parts the term motif (if necessary partial motif). This is a question of usage, and not connected with special analysis of the structure of the image. Again, one or two or three figures always have the status of main figure(s), in contrast to the subsidiary figures which form along with other partial motifs the parikara. The expression figure is used by us in the sense of human figure (rarely: animal figure), but also as a general term for the members of the iconographic pantheon. Occasionally, motif is used as a general term, covering besides types (main figure with parikara) also other forms of compositions (for example ranks of miniature figures). The expression gods and goddesses covers as a rule also saints such as the Jina and the Buddha.

§ 5. Form-principles

The main problem in the treatment of form-principles (our fourth basic concept) is the isolation of fairly well-defined categories. Nobody will deny the importance of form-principles such as symmetry, multiplicity, and multiplication (positions I-III below). However, experience shows that it is hardly desirable to prepare a systematic survey of one or several form-principles - as attempted by us in Bruhn Di. Still greater is the risk if the very category of form-principles is subjected to systematizing treatment (JID: Ch. 23). The best solution is a loose bunch of minor studies which discuss the form-principles "one by one" or in some related manner. Below we have isolated various form-principles and arranged them in six positions.

  1. Symmetry and hierarchic scaling. Vertical symmetry is typical of iconographic art in India and elsewhere. Recent studies (Hallade Co and Bautze-Picron Sy) have shown that symmetry etc. is interesting not only from the point of view of general aesthetics, but also in connection with the study of specific schools of art Composition in early Buddhist art has been treated by M.M. Hallade (Hallade Co: 31-34 et passim), and the impact of symmetry on Pāla iconography has been examined by Cl. Bautze-Picron (Bautze-Picron Sy: section 28 etc.). For the role of symmetry in Christian iconography the reader is furthermore referred to Reau Ic: 289-304 (Les exigences de la forme). As implied by the cases mentioned in Bautze-Picron Sy, symmetry is not only a general trend (combined with compactness etc.), but also a factor which influences the evolution of the individual types (e.g. Śiva and Pārvatī) in a specific manner. In the same manner we would stress in the case of most of the following positions the impact of form-principles on individual types (one single type or several related types) rather than the form-principle in general.
  2. Multiplicity of arms and heads. This peculiarity has struck all observers as one of the most puzzling features of Indian art. We also have to mention the multiplicity of snake-hoods (producing the well-known hood-circles) and the multiplicity of emanations (Maxwell Vi, see especially p. xiv). A systematic survey would demonstrate the dynamism of the trend better than a mere list. An example of oscillations within a specific type are the additional pairs of arms in the iconography of Kṛṣṇa (Kṛṣṇa with 2-4-6 arms: Bruhn Cl, pp. 48-49).
  3. Multiplication of miniature figures and "symbols." The phenomenon is best described by the expression "organization of group-gods into serried ranks" (Maxwell Vi: 250), the textual basis may be clear, uncertain, or absent. We add "symbols" in order to include also ligas. The arrangement of the figures/symbols (compare also Joshi De and Krishan Ga) may vary to some extent but the "rank" is the basic form. The figures are shown on "cores" (theriomorphous Varāha.s, cubes, and cylinders), stelae (mainly Viśvarūpa.s), separate slabs ("devapaṭṭa.s"), and architectural members (e.g. lintels).
  4. Similarity of images belonging to the same local style. In Indian art, unexpected similarity of images showing different types is not rare. This applies mainly to those provincial styles where the medieval trend towards a uniform iconoplastic pattern is especially pronounced. As paradigms we mention once more a few related Pāla-Sena stelae (Huntington Pā: figs. 238-44: Buddha, Śiva, Kārttikeya etc.) and a sequence of three images in the Patan stepwell (Mankodi Qu, fig. 93: Brahma, Śiva, Viṣṇu). In both cases we notice the effect of the pressure to assimilate (Assimilationsdruck) on the style of the images. In some cases, assimilation not only affects the style but also the iconography. A good example for iconographic change is the transfer of the lotus on which the relevant Pāla figures stand from Buddha.s and other types to Sūrya.s, partly in open form (Huntington Pā: fig. 242) and partly in a less conspicuous manner (Huntington Pā: figs. 241 and 244).
  5. Assimilation and combination. We use this double term for the characteristic transformations and proliferations in the Indian iconographic pantheon. J.N. Banerjea has discussed what he calls "synergistic icons" (Banerjea Ic: 540-63), while C. Sivaramamurti has studied "parallels and opposites" (Sivaramamurti Pa). The former scholar is mainly concerned with amalgamation (Hari-Hara type) while the latter has studied counterparts (Viṣṇu-and-Lakmī Śiva-and-Pārvatī, Varāhī ← Varāha). J.N. Banerjea has also included some counterparts in his survey (Kubera: Jambhala, pp. 559-60), but T.S. Maxwell's "multiple and multiheaded anthropomorphic icon types" (Maxwell Vi: 114) belong to J.N. Banerjea's central subject - Our double term (A and C.) is an incomplete description of a very "active" group of phenomena which also includes other form-principles ("dominance of standard motifs" and "multiplication", see below). This fourfold group can only be studied with advantage if the material is kept within limits, mainly by concentration on "pantheon studies." In Bruhn Di such a limitation was unfortunately not undertaken. But whatever the scope of the study, the fourfold group is not very coherent. Efforts to find a common denominator for the four phenomena on the semantic plane ("lack of distinction," "semantic disorder") cannot procure the unity which is missing on the formal plane.
  • Standard motifs show what is as a rule called "typological relationship." We mention the following well-known examples:
    1. Buddha.s, Jina.s, etc. seated in meditation;
    2. nāga.s, Jina.s (Pārśva.s), Buddha.s with hood-circles;
    3. the tutelary couple in Gandhara and in Jaina iconography (p. 248);
    4. the resting queen in Hindu and Jaina iconography (Zehmke Fr: 1.5.);
    5. Lakuliśa with four students in quincunx and various related forms of the quincunx (e.g. Asher Ea: pl. 167).

Finally, figures with "rosary and waterpot" can be connected with the ṛṣi prototype, and figures with "lotus and lotus" can be derived from Sūrya (Banerjea Ic: 548-52). "Counterparts" as mentioned above are not covered by the category of "standard motifs"; but they form a related phenomenon.

  • Multiplication. In "pantheon studies" we find side by side cases which can easily be connected with one of our four concepts and cases where there exist connecting lines to more than one concept. Examples of multiplication in the pantheon are sometimes of the complex type (avatara.s and matrka.s: assimilation cum multiplication) and sometimes of the simple type (twenty-four Jina.s, twelve Aditya.s: multiplication alone). Considering multiplication not only as pos. HI but also as a part of the present pos. V is at any rate unavoidable.
  1. Repetition segments. This term refers to a very limited subject, viz. to a specific phenomenon observed in the case of the wall-figures of some of the early-medieval and medieval temples of Central India (Temple No. 12 at Deogarh, Telī-kā-Mandir, etc.). In such a series of wall-figures most members or some members may be strikingly similar, the reason being primarily the repetition of certain figures (Viṣṇu.s, cāmara-bearers etc.). Here we are often not concerned with "flat" multiplication where all the members of the sequence are identical (e.g. compare pos. III above), but with "qualified" multiplication, where the members of the sequence are similar without being identical. We find one or even more than one repetition segment in the iconographic programmes of the relevant series (each segment consisting of two, four, six... figures), and, normally, non-repetitive figures are seen side by side with the figures of the repetition segment(s). The twenty-six wall-figures of Deogarh Temple No. 12 (JID: figs. 52-73) include eleven repetitive figures, all two-armed, female, and without vāhanas, and all unspecific as well as similar to one another (nos. 4,6,9,11-12, 15-19, 21). The eleven figures point to three prototypes, i.e. female with a cāmara, female with a lotus (Lakmī, Tārā), and female with a water-pot (river-goddess). However, in this case, all three figures have become similar, mainly in so far as the cāmara with its long handle has been assimilated to a lotus with a short stalk. As a consequence, we have one quasi-homogeneous set instead of three separate repetition segments. Moreover, the mutual assimilation of the eleven figures is combined with dissimilation, since the figures are in some secondary respects clearly distinguished from one another (see JID for details).

The isolation of "repetition segments" is a matter of discretion, and in this respect the situation is almost opposite to that of the plain ranks of group-gods mentioned under the heading "multiplication" in position III above. In the medieval and late-medieval period one is also faced with late developments of one type or another (repetition et alia) where we certainly need analytic categories (form-principles) but cannot guarantee clear-cut lines of demarcation between these categories (Mankodi Qu: 124-27).

§ 6. Iconographic modes

Our "formal description" (a-d in § 3) represents the iconoplastic standard mode. There are various deviations from this standard mode as will be demonstrated by the examples given below. Almost all the examples have been taken from the field of Northern Indian art, and there mainly from Jaina art. A few observations on Jaina miniature painting from Western India have been added.

Our first example is the "ācārya motif". It covers ācārya.s and monks and it has been described by us as a Jaina variety of the Northern Indian "teacher-and-disciple" motif (Bruhn Ac). The latter motif is fairly old and forms a cycle of motifs rather than an individual one (e.g. compare Bruhn Ve, figs. 3-4: Nalanda). The representation of Jaina ācārya.s on lower door-jambs can be traced back to similar figures of Hindu teachers on the lower door-frames of the outer door-way of the Telī-kā-Mandir (ITA 1991: fig. 23). Teacher-and-disciple groups which are similar to the ācārya motif can be found at Bhubaneswar (Mitra La: fig. 132) and Khajuraho (Desai Er: fig. 163).

The "acarya motif' (Central India, mainly Deogarh) consists of ācārya.s (teaching) and monks (listening, paying respect) in changing configurations. Ācārya.s and monks are characterized by at least one of two monastic motifs (broom, kalaśa), and ācārya.s show, in addition to that, at least one of three ācārya motifs (sthāpanā, book, preaching gesture). Two ācārya.s often share one and the same sthāpanā. At Deogarh we find in many cases a lower register showing monks below the main panel. This lower register is a development in its own right, but yet part and parcel of the ācārya motif. It should be added that the representations indicate differences in the status of the ācārya.s (central ācārya: lateral ācārya.s), but that we have not included this internal difference in our definition. The illustrations show at once that the ācārya motif deviates from the standard mode. However, this not only follows from the general impression, but also and mainly from the lack of uniformity observed in the two categories (ācārya.s on the one hand, monks on the other).

The reader may refer for previous discussions of the ācārya motif to Bruhn Āc (pp. 181, 183, 185) and Bruhn An (pp. 136, 156, lines 2-4). Several photographs not contained in Bruhn Āc have been published before and after the ācārya article: JID: figs. 210, 231-33, 266, 269-70 (Deogarh); Bruhn Ve: figs. 11-12 (Deogarh); JRM: figs. 135 (Deogarh), 177 (origin not given), 212 (Khajuraho); Trivedi Jh: fig. 77 (Siron Khurd); Fischer Zü: fig. 53 (Deogarh); ITA 1991: fig. 108 (five figures on a full-blown lotus, Mālādevī Temple); Desai Er: fig. 154 (Hingalajgarh); fig. 2 below (Deogarh). In addition to the five-figure theme, further ācārya motifs appear on the lower door-jambs of the outer door-way of the Mālādevī Temple. The low reliefs of Shravana Belgola (Settar Pr) and Rayadurgam (Murthy An: fig. 87) as well as Western Indian miniature paintings (mainly those of the early period, see Shah Tr: figs. 16 and 22) include fairly close parallels.

The tutelary couple of Jaina art, which cannot be separated from the Gandharan motif of Pāñcika (Jambhala) and Hārītī, does not surface before ca. AD 600. The deviation of the tutelary couple from the standard mode is less pronounced than the deviation of the ācārya motif. It clearly represents a "type'', but this with the proviso that the motif is on the verge of the standard mode. We again find considerable diversification, a prominent feature being the fluctuation in the lower part of the compositions where we notice, just as in the case of Pāñcika and Hārītī (e.g. Marshall Ga: fig. 144), small figures on the ground or in the lower register. For discussion and photographs we refer the reader to Shah Pa; JRM: 47-52 (text); JRM: figs. 80, 81, 85A 152, 178, 203, 205; and Pal Ex: 137, 174-75.

A different type of departure from the standard mode is demonstrated by the "repetition segments" on the outer walls of some Central Indian Jaina and Hindu temples (pp. 246-47). See Bruhn Pā for the Pārśvanātha Temple at Khajuraho; JID: 98-112 for Deogarh Temple No. 12. Most instances of "departure" are connected to our §§ 4 and 5.

A good example of representations which are completely outside the standard mode are narrative panels in which the instruments of identification differ considerably from the instruments used in iconoplastic art, the context being now more relevant to identification than individual features of the figures. However, in Jaina art, narrative panels are extremely rare, the temples of Delvada and Kumbharia being the only notable exceptions. On the other hand, the narrative genre is well represented in Jaina miniature painting from Western India. The main cycles, viz. Paryuaṇākalpasūtra and Kālakācāryakathā are always based on a limited number of cliches, each cliche standing as a rule for one specific episode. The situation changed in the latter part of the fifteenth century when Uttarādhyayana manuscripts were also provided with miniatures (other illuminated texts, old or new, can be ignored in the present context). New cliches were now invented but rarely. As a consequence, a few cliches from the earlier phase were adapted in toto, while new scenes were mostly depicted by using a few standard motifs (monks, nuns, kings, queens, etc.). These standard motifs are shown in different combinations and proportions, and with minor characteristics added here and there. The pseudo-narrative character of the Uttarādhyayana miniatures and the different semantic strategies have been described in detail by C. Caillat (Caillat St). A king plus monk can thus be read as "Śakra extolling Nami" or as "Śreika extolling the monk from Kauśāmbi", the difference consisting only in the additional pair of arms which distinguishes Śakra from Śreṇika (Caillat St: 244-45).

Till now, the "modes outside the standard mode" have not received much attention, and they are therefore amongst the more relevant arguments in favour of "systematics" (p. 230 above). One of the purposes of systematics is the closing of all too obvious gaps in our knowledge, and the gaps are best demonstrated by a typological survey of neglected subjects in Indian iconography.

§ 7. Periods and Regions

Broadly speaking, Jaina iconography is distinguished from non-Jaina iconography by the omnipresence of the Jina-type. There are also counterparts of Hindu (and Buddhist) gods and goddesses, but their number is limited. The criteria for the admission or non-admission of such figures into the iconographic pantheon of the Jainas are understandable in some cases (Sarasvatī) and obscure in others (Cakreśvarī < Vaiṣṇavī).

We subdivide Jaina art into four periods. These periods are constructions of different character which we need as vehicles of our exposition. The regional subdivision is restricted to Period IV.

Period I, or 100 B.C.(?) - A.D.100, is beset with uncertainties. It includes Jina images which have been dated in this period, but which are practically undated (JAA: pl. 21A-B; Lal Te), as well as the mysterious Jina image mentioned in the Khāravela inscription. Perhaps "Period I" saw miniature Jina.s rather than Jina icons. We have at any rate an early relief - 100 B.C. to O - showing two small Jina.s (JRM: fig. 18; Joshi Ea: 335) and early āyāgapaṭṭa.s - beginning of Period II - showing Jina.s in the centre (Lohuizen Or: fig. 26; Mitterwallner Sc: 92; Joshi Ea: 335). Comparable early representations of the Buddha (Lohuizen Or, Pal Pr, Carter Pe: 362-63, Sharma Bu: 135-59) follow similar lines. For a more comprehensive survey of our "Period I" the reader is referred to Dhaky Jn.

The question of an artistic Jaina vocabulary worth the name arises only with the beginning of Period II (AD. 100-550). We distinguish between the Kuṣāṇa vocabulary and the Gupta vocabulary. In the first case we have to mention the āyāgapaṭṭa.s (Joshi Ea: 360); the actual Jina images, which now occur in great number; the "sagha scenes" (Jain community doing worship) decorating the pedestals of many Jina images (Mitterwallner Fr); the caturmukha.s; various reliefs adorning architectural members; and finally the seated Sarasvatī. The richness of the Jaina material is remarkable; it has recently been catalogued and analysed by N.P. Joshi (Joshi Ea). The vocabulary of the Gupta period is somewhat limited. Emphasis is now on iconoplastic representations of the Jina (with simple pedestal programmes but generally with richer parikara.s). Caturmukha.s must have belonged to the repertoire, but they are rare (Tiwari Sa: 2). The capital of the Kahaum pillar is the best known specimen (Williams Gu: pl. 144). There is also no extension of the vocabulary beyond the Jina motif. As far as Jaina art is concerned, the artistic superiority of the Gupta period was not linked with iconographic innovations.

Period in (550-750), which we also call the "intermediate period", is a working hypothesis. There is no question of a well-defined corpus of Jaina images which can be ascribed to this time, partly because the material is limited and partly because in many cases we do not know whether a roughly dated representation belongs to the time before or after the beginning (or the end) of Period III. We have introduced this period because there is often no continuity between periods II and IV so that we sometimes have to postulate missing links and sometimes to pay increased attention to images which clearly belong to Period III. Tamil Nadu is the best example for discontinuity. In Northern India it should, by contrast, be possible to construe, within limits, continuous lines of development, the parikara being a case in point (Williams Gu: pls. 29, 114, 230-31; our figs. 11-15; Meister Ām: figs. 3-4).

Period IV (750-1500) stands for full diversification which is identical with full regionalization. However, we are here not concerned with regions in the usual sense but with geographical subdivisions of uneven character. Six broad art divisions, each having its own vocabulary, can be isolated:

  1. Eastern India,
  2. Central India,
  3. Western India,
  4. Tamil Nadu,
  5. Ellora,
  6. Karnataka.

"Western India" stands for the explosive artistic activities in the Śvetāmbara area. It is only in this area that the development lasted up to 1500 or even longer, the lower limit being in the other cases only round about 1200. The Digambara-Śvetāmbara split had very little influence on the iconography of the Jina (the Śvetāmbara artists merely introduced the dhoti into Jina iconography), but outherwise Śvetāmbara Jainism in Gujarat and Rajasthan is reflected in all branches of the visual arts.

§§ 8-13The Grammar of Jina Iconography I (Part 2)


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