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Santinatha

  • Object:

    Figure

  • Place of origin:

    Rajasthan (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1168 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Copper alloy (bronze)

  • Museum number:

    930(IS)

  • Gallery location:

    South Asian Sculpture, Room 47b, case BNC, shelf 2 []

Shantinath is especially revered in the Jain pantheon. He is the 16th Jina (saviour-teacher) and is said to have revived Jainism at a time when it was in danger of extinction, assuring the faith's survival. Over time Jains came to invoke him to avert calamities and ensure the peace his name suggests (santi, ‘peace’; natha,‘lord’).

This image is one of the finest 12th-century western Indian Jain monumental bronze castings recorded. The figure bears an inscription dedicating it to the triumph of Sri Shantinatha in the year of Vikrama-Sanwat 1224 (1168 AD).

The naked meditating Jina is seated in the ‘padmasana’ posture on a jewelled cushion. This is richly decorated with silver and copper inlay and deer motifs. The deer which appears on the throne-base is the attribute (symbol) associated with Shantinatha.

The figure is beautifully modelled, with finely articulated hands and feet. The symmetrical curls of hair frame a face of serene calm. The prominent ‘srivatsa’ mark on the chest is inlaid with silver and copper. The eyes are silver and were probably once set with precious stones or crystal, now missing. The highly elaborate back plate is cast in three sections and provides the ‘prabhavati’ (radiating halo). It also supports the fly-whisk bearers and celestial attendants, elephants and musicians who pay homage to the Jina.

Physical description

The meditating figure of Shantinatha (Santinatha), the 16th Jaina Tirthankara, is seated in the padmasana posture, on a jewelled cushion richly decorated with silver and copper inlay. There is a tiny figure of the deer which is the symbol (lanchana) of this Tirthankara. The figure is beautifully modeled, with finely articulated hands and feet. The symmetrical curls of hair frame a face of serene calm. The prominent srivatsa mark on the chest is inlaid with silver and copper. The eyes are silver and were probably once set with precious stones and crystal, now missing. An aureole is given behind the head with lotus design. A portion on top of the aureole is missing, perhaps it held a chatravali (umbrellas). The elaborate back-rest of the throne is cast in two sections, the lower section shows the fly-whisk bearers and the leogryphs and male figures. Two garland-bearers (maladharas or vidyadharas) and two seated four-armed female figures (yakshis) are shown on the throne-bar. Elephants and drummers are shown on top. A meditating male figure seated in the lalitasana posture is illustrated on top in the centre. We are unable to identify this important figure. Branches of the Kevala tree of the Jina also are shown on top with pots. This image of Shantinatha is one of the finest twelfth-century western Indian Jain monumental bronze castings recorded. The modelling and casting of the backplate, however, gives the appearance of not being contemporary. In all probability it was cast as a replacement, perhaps as late as the fifteenth century. An inscription on the base of the image confirms the identity of the Jina and the date of its dedication.

Place of Origin

Rajasthan (probably, made)

Date

1168 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Copper alloy (bronze)

Marks and inscriptions

Text: (Om symbol) sam 1224 vaisa vadi 5 some sri-naila-gacche
Trans.: "In the year [V.S.] 1224 [1167],on Monday, the 5th tithi [day]of the bright half of the month of Vaisakha. [This is] the means to the triumph of Sri Santinatha in the honourable Naila gaccha [tree; lineage]."

Gauriswar Bhattacharya, 13 July 2006.
The reading and translation of the incription were made by Prof. A.L.Basham. Basham took the meaningless word 'vamtra' as 'tantra'. We will however prefer to correct the word as vimvam. 'Jaya-vimvam' will mean 'victorious image'. The inscription starts with the siddham symbol and not om, and the scribe has written the letter kha above vaisa.
Inscription in Nagari and Sanskrit (partially corrupt)

An inscription on the base of the image confirms the identity of the Jina and the date of its dedication
In the year [v.s.] 1224 [1167] on Monday,5th tithi [day] of the bright half of the month of Vaisakha. This is the means to the triumph of Sri Santinatha in the honourable Naila gaccha [tree; lineage]. Reading and translation by A.L.Basham).

Dimensions

Height: 51.5 cm, Width: 26.7 cm, Depth: 14 cm

Historical context note

Shantinath (Santinatha), the sixteenth Jina is especially revered in the Jain pantheon. He is said to have revived Jainism at a time when it was in danger of extinction and thus assured the faith's survival. Over time he came to be invoked to avert calamities and ensure calm in the world, as his name suggests (santi means "peace"; natha, "lord"). The popularity of Santinatha resulted in a great many images being produced, including large-scale bronzes of superb quality as seen here. The distinguishing attribute of Santinath is the deer, which is placed on the throne-base of the image. This cognizance is independent of the deer flanking a dharmachakra, which came to be associated with all Jinas. This is a rare example of monumental bronze casting from the medieval period and bears an inscription dedicating it to the triumph of Sri Santinatha in the year of Vikrama-Sanwat 1224 (1168 AD).

Descriptive line

Bronze figure of Santinatha, bronze, probably Rajasthan, Western India, 12th century (the backplate probably later).

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

This image of Santinatha is one of the finest twelth-century western Indian Jain monumental bronze castings recorded. The modeling and casting of the backplate, however, gives the appearance of not being contemporary. In all probability it was cast as a replacement, perhaps as late as the fifteenth century.

p. 96, no. 4
Barnard, Nick, Arts of Asia, Vol. no. 46, no 1, "The Jain Collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum". January-February 2016
pl. 9
Irwin, John C., Indian Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1968
p.182/3, Cat. 143
L'escultura en el temples indis : l'art de la devoció : exposició organitzada per la Fundació "La Caixa" i el Victoria & Albert Museum, Londres. [Barcelona: Obra social, Fundació "la Caixa", c2007 Number: 9788476649466
p.61, pl.64
Indian Temple Sculpture
Guy, John, pp.146-148 and app. p.259
Pal, Pratapaditya Dr. (Ed.) The Peaceful Liberators: Jain Art from India, New York and London, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and V&A, 1995

Labels and date

The Jina Shantinatha

1168; the backplate about 1300–1500

Jains revere twenty-four Jinas (spiritual victors) who showed the
way to escape the cycle of death and rebirth and achieve liberation.
These Jinas are also known as Tirthankaras (ford-makers).

Shantinatha, the 16th Jina, is said to have revived Jainism at a time
when it was in danger of extinction. In this rare example of large-
scale medieval bronze casting, he sits meditating on a cushion,
flanked by flywhisk bearers and felicitated by celestial musicians
and garland bearers.

Copper alloy with silver and copper inlay
Probably western India (Rajasthan)
With an inscription dedicating it to the triumph of Sri Shantinatha in the year
of Vikrama-Samvat 1224 (1168 AD)

Museum no. 930(IS)

[06/06/2011]
SANTINATHA
Bronze
Probably Rajasthan, Western India
Cahamana period, dated to 1168 A.D.

The meditating figure of Santinatha, the 16th Jain tirthankara, is seated on a cushion flanked by attendants holding fly-whisks (chauri). The highly elaborate backplate (torana) is decorated with celestial attendants, elephants and musicians. This is a rare example of monumental bronze-casting from the medieval period and bears an inscription dedicating it to the triumph of Sri Santinatha in the year of Vikrama-samvat 1224 (1168 A.D.).

930(IS)

[c.1988-2010]

Production Note

Probably Rajasthan, India

Subjects depicted

Elephants; Drummers; Garlands

Categories

IndScp_load; Sculpture; Jain; Religion; Animals and Wildlife; India Museum

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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