G652.1 SANDSTONE HEAD OF A JINA


G652.1 SANDSTONE HEAD OF A JINA

CENTRAL OR WESTERN INDIA

PROBABLY FROM RAJASTHAN

10TH-11TH CENTURY

H. 34 CMS, 13 ½ INS

A large and exquisite, over life-size pale buff sandstone head of a Jain Tirthankara (Jina), sensitively modelled with a benign, tranquil expression beneath bow-shaped brows; the eyes wide open with an intense spiritual gaze, the hair arranged in snail shell curls rising to a lotus usnisha.

The principal Jain pantheon consists of twenty-four Tirthankaras (or saviours), the first being Rishabhanatha and the last Mahavira. A Tirthankara, or Jina has successfully passed through all the cycles of rebirth to create a passage for believers. Mahavira (c. 599-527 BC) was a historical figure and a near contemporary of the Buddha.

Reference: For a comparable head, see fig. 53 in J. C. Harle and A. Topsfield, Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1987.

Provenance: Private collection, UK.