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Tall Indian Bronze Figure of a Standing Jain Tirthankhara

South India
17th century

height without stand: 26cm, with stand: 28cm



private collection, The Netherlands

This finely cast and well-proportioned image of a naked Jina stands in the classic tadasana pose on a circular base. The figure has fleshy contours, broad shoulders, wide hips, elongated arms and ears, closely cropped hair, and triple neck folds (trivali). Other skins folds can be seen at the waist and groin.

The face is finely and simply rendered. The lips have been cast with a slight smile.

The figure has no identifying attributes but it could be the Jina Parsvanatha.

The nakedness of the figure suggests that the image was made for a devotee of the Digambara sect, a Jain sect that was most widely followed among the Jains of the Deccan plateau and the very south of India. ‘Digambara’ referred to those who were ‘sky clad’ in that they went naked. Jainism prospered in the south, and was protected by powerful local rulers. Most Jain images from the south show the jinas as unencumbered by personal possessions including clothing.

The tadsana or kayotsarga standing is the austerity meditation or ‘body-abandonment’ posture. Its simplicity saw the production of some particularly beautiful images that embody the essence of the rejection of the material world.

The image is in excellent condition. There are no cracks, chips or repairs. The image has a smooth, golden patina. It is fixed to a small black stand which retains an old collection label to its back.


van Alphen, J., Steps to Liberation: 2,500 Years of Jain Art and Religion, Ethnographic Museum Antwerp, 2000.
Pal, P., The Peaceful Liberators: Jain Art from India, Thames & Hudson/Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1995.

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