Iconography of Early Jainism (Part 3)

Published: 30.11.2011
Updated: 02.07.2015

The Italian version of this essay, titled "Jaina, Iconografia" was published in Enciclopedia dell'Arte Antica. Classica e Orientale (Ed. by G.P. Carratelli, Secondo Supplemento, Roma: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1995, pp. 65-73). For the English edition the section of illustrations has been extended.


Iconography of Early Jainism (Part 3)



I. Jaina Religion:

  • G. Bühler, On the Indian Sect of the Jainas, translated from the German, edited with an outline of Jaina Mythology by Jas. Burgess. London 1903.
  • C. Caillat, “Jainism“, in: M. Eliade (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Religion. New York 1987. Refer to p. 514 (Vol. 7) for a bibliographical survey.
  • J. Deleu, “Die Mythologie des Jinismus“, in: H.W. Haussig (ed.), Wörterbuch der Religion V. Stuttgart 1984.
  • H. von Glasenapp, Der Jainismus. Hildesheim 1984 (second reprint).
  • H. Jacobi, “Jainism“, in: J. Hastings (ed.). The Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. Edinburgh 1908-26.

II. Early Indian Art:

The reader is mainly referred to the following publications:

  • F.M. Asher, The Art of Eastern India, 300-800. Minneapolis 1980. See pl. 15 for a Rajgir Jina of the Gupta age with unusual pedestal motifs.
  • S.J. Czuma, Kushan Sculpture. Cleveland 1985. Refer to pp. 227-231 for dated Jaina images.
  • J.C. Harle, Gupta Sculpture. Oxford 1974.
  • N.P. Joshi, Mathura Sculptures. Mathura 1966.
  • G. Kreisel, Die Siva-Bildwerke der Mathura-Kunst. Stuttgart 1986.
  • J.E. van Lohuizen-de Leeuw, The “Scythian“ Period. Leiden 1949.
  • J.E. van Lohuizen-de Leeuw, “The second century of the Kaniṣka era“, in: South Asian Studies 2.1986, pp. 1-9.
  • G. von Mitterwallner, Münzen der späten Kuṣāṇas... Teil 1. München 1983.
  • G. von Mitterwallner, Kuṣāṇa Coins and Sculptures. Mathurā 1986. See pl. 26-30, 32-35 for pedestal friezes.
  • H. und I. Plaeschke, Frühe indische Plastik. Leipzig 1988.
  • K.V.S. Rajan, Cave Temples of the Deccan. New Delhi 1981. See pp. 72ff. for Aihole and pp. 78-79 for Badami.
  • N.R. Ray, K. Khandalavala, and S. Gorakshkar, Eastern Indian Bronzes. New Delhi 1986. Illustrations of the Chausa bronzes.
  • J.M. Rosenfield, The Dynastic Art of the Kushans. Berkeley, Los Angeles 1967.
  • R.C. Sharma, Buddhist Art of Mathura. Delhi 1984.
  • J.Ph. Vogel, La sculpture de Mathura. Paris et Bruxelles 1930.
  • J.G. Williams, The Art of Gupta India. Princeton 1982.

III. Early Jaina Art

Our list includes a few general publications on Jaina art.

  • V.S. Agrawala, Mathura Museum Catalogue, Pt. III, Jaina Tirthankaras and Other Miscellaneous Figures. Lucknow 1952.
  • A. Ghosh (ed.), Jaina Art and Architecture, Vols.I-III. New Delhi 1974-75. See pl. 12 (Vol.1) for a scene of worship with āyāgapaas.
  • D. Mitra, Udayagiri and Khandagiri, New Delhi 1975.
  • G. von Mitterwallner, “The Pārśva of the inscription in Cave No.20 at Udayagiri (M.P.)“, in: F.M. Asher and G.S. Gai (ed.), Indian Epigraphy. New Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta 1985.
  • G. von Mitterwallner, “Inscribed fragmentary sculpture of the year 14 in the State Museum, Lucknow“, in: S.D. Trivedi (ed.), Essays on Indology, Polity and Administration, Vols.I-II, Delhi 1989 [R.K. Trivedi Fel. Vol.].
  • H.K. Prasad, “Jaina Bronzes in the Patna Museum“, in: Shri Mahavir Jaina Vidyalaya Golden Jubilee Volume, Pt. I. Bombay 1968. Chausa bronzes etc.
  • U.P. Shah, Studies in Jaina Art. Banaras 1955.
  • U.P. Shah, “Bronze Hoard from Vasantagadh“, in: Lalit Kala 1/2, 1955/56. We connect the dates of figs. 1-2 with a later era than the author.
  • U.P. Shah, Akota Bronzes, Bombay 1959.
  • U.P. Shah, Jaina-Rūpa-Mandana (Jaina Iconography), Vol. 1, New Delhi 1987. See fig. 18 for “pre-canonical“ Jina figures.
  • U.P. Shah and M.A. Dhaky (ed.), Aspects of Jaina Art and Architecture. Ahmedabad 1975. We connect the dates of figs. 11-12 in Paper No. 26 with a later era than the author.
  • V.A. Smith, The Jain Stūpa and Other Antiquities of Mathura. Varanasi, Delhi 1969 (reprint).
  • R.C. Sharma, “Jaina sculptures of the Gupta age in the State Museum, Lucknow“, in: Shri Mahavir Jaina Vidyalaya G.J. V., Pt. I. Bombay 1968.


Fig. 1. Tympanon composition. Verandah of a rock-cut monastery, Khandagiri Cave 3.

Fig. 2. Ayagapata with seated Jina and astamangala set, Mathura.

Fig. 3. Metal image of Parsva (five snake-hoods), North or Western India.

Fig. 4. Seated Parsva with "smooth hair".

Fig. 5. Slab with narrative motif, Mathura.

Fig. 6. Two sides of a "sarvatobhadrika pratima", Mathura.

Fig. 7. Seated Jina with "curls", Mathura.

Fig. 8. Head of a Jina with "wavy hair", Mathura.

Fig. 9. Seated Jaina goddess (Sarasvati), Mathura.

Fig. 10. Metal image of Rsabha (hair in the form of "extended strands"), Mathura.

Fig. 11. Seated Jina, Gupta art of Mathura.

Fig. 12. Jina panel on one side of the Kahaum pillar (AD 460), Gupta art of Northern India.

[Figs. 13 and 14 are currently not available in the authors archive and will be added later]

Fig. 15. Metal image of the first Jina Rsabha. Vasantgarh hoard.

Fig. 16. Metal image of the eigth Jina Candraprabha, Chausa hoard.

Fig. 17. (left) Rsabha with dhoti, metal image of the Svetambaras, Akota hoard.
Fig. 18. (right) Jivantasvamin, metal image of the Svetambaras, Akota hoard.

Compiled by PK

English edition by HN4U 2011


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