Distinction in Indian Iconography [Appendix B]

Posted: 23.01.2012
Updated on: 02.07.2015

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The paper was published in Bulletin of the Deccan College Research Institute 20 (S.K. De Felicitation Volume), Poona 1960, pp. 164-248.


 

Distinction in Indian Iconography

Appendix B: Explanation of Terms

Abhayamudrā

Particular pose of the hand, indicating protection.

Ācārya

Spiritual teacher.

Āmalaka

Flat fluted melon-shaped member usually at the summit of the Indo-Aryan type of śikhara or spire" (P. Brown); the āmalaka appears also as the knob of maces etc.

Āsana

(a) Sitting posture (b) synonym of vāhana (see Appendix A). [1]

Avasarpiī

(In Jain dogmatics:) descending period, period of decline; alternating with the ascending period (utsarpiī). The present period in our part of the world is an avasarpiī.

Cakra

Discus or sharp circular missile weapon, esp. that of Viṣṇu-Kṛṣṇa. The (dharma)cakra of Buddhism and Jainism is a religious symbol. Both, cakra and dharmacakra, are represented in the form of a wheel with spokes.

Caturmukhaliṅga

Liṅga with four human busts carved on it (fig. 58).

Chowrie

Fly-whisk (Skt. Cāmarī).

Cihna

Identifying symbol carved on the pedestals of Jina images (e.g. the bull as the cihna of the first Jina Ṛṣabha). If taken in a wider sense it may mean any identifying object which is carved on the pedestal of an image. There is, however, no clear-cut line of demarcation between vāhanas and cihnas.

Cikurāvalī

Row of hairs”, here used as a technical term for that portion of Ṛṣabha's hair which remained on his head after he became a monk.

Composite icons

See §§ 34-36 and 59. - composite icons have normally been written with a hyphon (e.g. Hari-Hara). Ardhanārīśvara is a combination of Śiva (proper right half of the figure) and Pārvatī (proper left half of the figure).

Ḍamaru

Sort of drum.

Dhyānamudrā

Particular pose of the hand, indicating meditation.

Dvārapāla

Door-keeper.

Ekamukhaliṅga

Liṅga with one human head carved on it.

Garbhagṛha

Sanctum.

Jaṭā

Braid of hair.

Jaṭāmaṇḍala

See fig. 48.

Jaṭāmukuṭa

See figs. 62, 59, 60.

Ka

Kay-avalambita-hasta, i.e. hand resting on the loins.

Khaga

A curious sort of club, made up of the forearm or the leg, to the end of which a human skull is attached through its foramen” (Rao).

Liṅga

Phallus (of Śiva).

Makara

Sea-monster; in its earliest iconographic form a crocodile, later on always a hybrid animal.

Mudrā

Pose Of the hand.

Mukuṭa

Tall crown.

Mūrti

Image; often in final composition:.e.g. Andhakāsuravadhamūrti = an image representing Śiva as slaying the demon Andhaka.

Parikara

Entourage, girdle”; in Jain iconography those elements of the composition which surround the main figure.

Pedestal

Portion of image below the figure proper.

Prabhāmaṇḍala

Halo surrounding the head.

Prabhāvalī

According to Rao a halo which surrounds the whole body (I, I, terms, p. 32); prabhāmaṇḍala is also used in this latter sense (§ 59).

pradakṣiṇāpatha

Processional passage round the sanctum.

Ṛṣi

Sage; ascetic in general.

Siṁhāsana

Throne with feet in the form of lions.

Śiraścakra

Halo “attached to the back of the head of images by means of a rod” (Rao); found with bronze images.

Suṣamā

(In Jain dogmatics:) second subdivision of an avasarpiṇī and last but one subdivision of an utsarpiṇī.

Trimūrti

See § 35 and fig. 55.

Ūrdhvaliga

Ithypallic.

Uṣṇīa

Excrescence on the heads of Buddhas and Jinas.

Varadamudrā

Particular pose of the hand, indicating bestowal.

Vimāna

That part of the temple which contains the sanctum and supports the spire or śikhara.

Vīnā

Musical instrument (kind of lute).

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Bulletin of the Deccan College Research Institute 20 (1960)

Compiled by PK