5419

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Inscribed Jain Bronze Ambika Shrine

Western India
dated samvat 1522 (1465AD)

height: 11.2cm, width: 5.9cm, weight: 357g

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Provenance

Acquired by the previous owner in London, September, 1970.

This fine, well-cast and detailed depiction of the Jain deity Ambika (or Ambika Devi) and associated deities is from Western India.

The reverse has a lengthy and clear inscription in devanagari script that covers most of the back. It includes a date of samvat 1522 which approximates to 1465AD.

The image shows the four-armed goddess seated on a raised, pierced platform. She holds her child on her left knee. Her other arms hold bunches of grape-like fruits.

A pierced aureole or backing plate rises from behind Ambika and is topped by a jina or tirthankar figure seated cross-legged, beneath a small kalasha vase.

Ambika (‘Mother’), in Jainism, is the yaksi or dedicated attendant deity or protector goddess of Neminatha, the 22nd Tirthankara. Typically, she is shown with one or more children, often beneath a tree. It is likely that the fruits that she holds in the image here are symbolic of the tree with which she is often portrayed.

The piece shows significant age. It has a good, varying patina, and features worn with devotional (puja) wear.

References

Pal, P., The Peaceful Liberators: Jain Art from India, Thames & Hudson/Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1995.

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