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Browsing: Jina images (Add. 26519)

Image: Blank side of illustrated folio

Title: Blank side of illustrated folio

Source:
The British Library Board
Shelfmark:
Add. 26519
Author:
unknown
Date of creation:
possibly 18th century
Folio number:
107 verso
Total number of folios:
not applicable
Place of creation:
western India
Language:
Gujarati
Medium:
opaque watercolour on paper
Size:
14 x 8 cms
Copyright:
CC0 1.0 (Creative Commons Public Domain)
Image copyright: Creative Commons Public Domain

Background

This manuscript has the format of a European book and is a composite document with different items.

The 24 Jinas are always represented in a very stylised way in visual art. In some cases, however, the colour of their body is an identifying mark – green for Pārśva, blue for Nemi, for instance.

Apart from this the Jinas have no obvious identifying marks with the exception of the 23rd Jina, Pārśvanātha or Lord Pārśva. Pārśva is usually shown with a snake headdress, which highlights his close association with snakes – nāga. No other Jinas have a life story featuring an animal in this way.

Moreover, each Jina has an emblem that is frequently included in artwork so he can be identified.

In this album, which has five pictures, two Jinas can be definitely named:

  • the 22nd Jina Neminātha or Lord Nemi
  • the 23rd Jina Pārśva.

The identity of the other three is uncertain. They may be the other most popular Jinas:

  • the first Jina Ṛṣabhanātha or Lord Ṛṣabha, who is also known as Ādinātha – 'First Lord'
  • the 16th Jina Śāntinātha or Lord Śānti
  • the 24th Jina Mahāvīra.

A Jina is always shown in meditation, either standing or sitting, like here. Among the Śvetāmbaras, the Jina is thought of as a spiritual king and is often depicted with ornaments and seated on a throne. This is the case here.

Glossary

Dhyāna
Sanskrit for 'meditation', one of the six internal austerities or tapas that help purify the soul of karma. Meditation is deep thought about religious doctrine or mental focus on spiritual matters over a period of time. An important part of many religions, meditation is especially important in Jain belief because it forms key elements of religious practice and spiritual development.
Jina
A 'victor' in Sanskrit, a Jina is an enlightened human being who has triumphed over karma and teaches the way to achieve liberation . A synonym for Tīrthaṃkara, which means 'ford-maker' or one who has founded a community after reaching omniscience through asceticism. The most famous 24 – Ṛṣabha to Mahāvīra – were born in the Bharata-kṣetra of the middle world , but more are found in other continents. There have been Jinas in the past and there will be some in the future.
Nemi
The 22nd Jina of the present age, also called Ariṣṭanemi. His symbolic colour is blue or black and his emblem the conch. There is no historical evidence of his existence. The Jains hold that Nemi is the cousin of the Hindu god Kṛṣna. The tale of his renunciation and jilting of his fiancée Princess Rājīmati are famous among the Jains.
Pārśva
The 23rd Jina of the present age. His symbolic colour is green and his emblem the snake. Historical evidence points to his living around 950 to 850 BC.

Related Manuscripts

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