The Analysis of Jina Images [Part 7]

Published: 09.02.2012
Updated: 02.07.2015

The essay was published in Berliner Indologische Studien No. 2. 1986, pp. 133-174.


§ 13. The attendant figures (squares 31-38)

We distinguish between

  1. cāmara-bearers on images except those of the Uncouth Class,
  2. cāmara-bearers and other attendant figures in the Uncouth Class, and
  3. attendant figures other than cāmara-bearers as seen in a group of images outside the Uncouth Class.

In principle, cāmara-bearers within Jina iconography are “always male if not stated otherwise“. However, in our sub-corpus, female cāmara-bearers are completely absent, although attendant figures other than cāmara-bearers may be female.

(i) The cāmara-bearers according to (i) are shown both with and without bhāmaṇḍalas; they may be bare-headed or shown with mukuṭas. One hand holds a cāmara whereas the other hand may hold a lotus or nothing at all. We do not mention any differences in the renderings of the various motifs. In particular, we use the comprehensive term kai (“hip“, i.e. hand placed against the hip) for all those cases where the “other hand“ carries no lotus. There is nevertheless some scope for a systematic description of different formulas (mainly different postures), and there are also a few rare forms of the cāmara and the lotus. Furthermore, we notice the following combinations of hand-attributes:


cāmara / lotus


lotus / cāmara


cāmara / kaṭi


kaṭi / cāmara


kaṭi / cāmara


cāmara / kaṭi

All three combinations occur both with and without mukuṭa. Under the circumstances, we can expect good examples for changing combinations (see § 4 supra on JID 156-158). An instance of concomitance is provided by the Class with Miniature-Figures, which almost always has “A“ and always “mukuṭa“.

(ii) No clear picture emerges in the case of the attendant figures of the Uncouth Class. On the one hand, this class shows clear conformity with the other images, and on the other hand we find major and minor deviations. The only common denominator of all the attendant figures of this class (normally cāmara-bearers) is their small size. Sometimes the symmetry is not of the usual type:

cāmara / kaṭi


cāmara / kaṭi (JID 78)

kaṭi / cāmara


kaṭi / cāmara (JID 85c)

In one case there appears a male figure with a cup to the left, and Ambikā to the right (JID 88). The formula male/female is also found on AJI 4 and AJI 10. Minor irregularities are seen in JID 78 (one cāmara-bearer without and one with a mukuṭa); in JID 85c (awkward appearance of the cāmara-bearers); in AJI 5 (adorant on the same level as the cāmara-bearers, cf. AJI 4); and in AJI 3 (principal cāmara-bearers framed by an additional pair of smaller cāmara-bearers). There is no clear-cut line of demarcation between irregularities of the attendant figures which reflect the style and iconography of the Uncouth Class and irregularities (etc.) due to other influences.

(iii) An interesting instance of variation is supplied by the group of JID § 122 (Nos. 133-37). The reader is referred to the reproductions in JID (136a, 136b, and 186a) and AJI (6 and 7). We obtain the following:

cāmara / kaṭi

kaṭi / cāmara


Ambikā (st)

Kubera (st)


Ambikā (s)

Kubera (s)


cāmara / kaṭi

kati / cāmara

(AJI 6)

Ambikā (s)

Kubera (st)

(AJI 7)

It must be added that, in spite of the identical formula, the rendering of the cāmara-bearers in JID 136a and AJI 6 is not uniform.

We have also published (AJI 8) a fragment of a standing Jina image where only the figure of Kubera is intact. We do not know whether the relevant image was connected with our group (JID § 122). The small Kubera is superior in quality to the other Kubera figures found on the pedestals of the Jina images at Deogarh. A fine standing Kubera, about 2-3 feet in height, is found in Wall-Section VIII (Neg.1738). The figure is 160 iconographically related to the Kubera in AJI 7 and belongs to the early-medieval period.


§ 14. The lateral zones (squares 21-30)

In the medieval period, there were no special rules for the lateral zones. Also, the relevant area (between the attendant figures and the garland-bearers) was not considered to be very important. At Deogarh, the respective “slot“ is empty in the majority of cases. Still, quite a few images were provided with motifs, and here we must distinguish between two solutions:

  1. the representation of 23 or 24 seated miniature Jinas, and
  2. the representation of various other motifs.

(i) The representation of miniature Jinas was motivated by the desire to demonstrate the sequence of 24 Jinas an important element of the Jaina doctrine. But even in their seated form the Jinas could not be accommodated in the lateral zones alone. So the artists only had two choices: either change the entire pattern (e.g. upward extension of the composition beyond the usual parikara-top) or find some compromise which did not interfere too much with the normal pattern (compare the adjustments in the case of the Pārśva images). The Deogarh artists preferred the second solution. Even then there remains a minor difference between images where the accommodation was achieved in a very cautious manner (JID 89a; 23 miniature Jinas or “1+23“) and other images where the artists showed less concern for the conventional frame (JID 88; obvisously “1+24“ Jinas).

In all, the Class with Miniature-Figures has six images with miniature Jinas (§ 10 supra). Somehow related to this material is JID 44. Two images with miniature Jinas form part of the Uncouth Class (JID 88, JID 89a). The following images are late: JID 169, No.222 (JID 185, extreme right [1]), image appearing on the extreme left of JID 147A (full view in Neg.1022), image in Wall-Section IX (upper portion missing, Neg.1751). Two images in Temple No.9 have been included into the list of § 21 infra (AJI 16). Two images in Wall-Sections XIV and XVI are of little artistic merit and require no comment.

It would appear that images following the formula “1 + 23“ (i.e. uneven number of miniature Jinas) accommodated the “23rd“ Jina at the top: JID 44 (in front of the drum: JID p.97), JID 89a (below the drum), and JID 147A (instead of the drum?). The most careful rendering of the small Jina figures (miniature compositions) will be found in JID 89a. Refer also to IJI § 5C (seventh and eighth paras).

(ii) The remaining images (“various other motifs“) fall under three categories. A few images, which are not related, show the Navagrahas in the lateral zones: JID 7, 114, 115, 139a, 185a, AJI 13, Neg.1747 (Wall-Section VIII, small double-image mentioned already in § 12). Our list includes the unconventional Pārśva image JID 139a. [2] JID 185a is the only image to depict the Navagrahas not seated but standing. - Three closely related images (Nos. 46-48) show a lotus-creeper motif. In the first case (JID 84), the creepers terminate into the lotus-blossoms supporting two abhiṣeka-elephants. The two remaining images are so damaged that the portion which might have accommodated the two elephants is no longer extant: AJI 5 and 11. - Images No.66-68 are closely related and show some incised design on their lateral zones (surfaces). The motifs vary: unconventional floral design (JID 95), conventional floral design (Neg. 1318-19), and throne-frame animals (Neg. 1323-24: Pārśva).

The Navagrahas (nine grahas = 4 plus 4 panels) do not fill the entire lateral zones of a standing image - hence the distances between the individual panels in a case like JID 115. The lateral zones of the great Śānti (JID 8) have even been subdivided: Navagrahas in the upper area, pillars and throne-frame animals in the lower area. Well executed lateral throne-frame motifs as seen in JID 8 are rare in the iconography of the Jina (e.g. Shah, Ak. 7).


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Berliner Indologische Studien

Compiled by PK


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