The Analysis of Jina Images [Part 5]

Published: 07.02.2012
Updated: 02.07.2015

The essay was published in Berliner Indologische Studien No. 2. 1986, pp. 133-174.


§ 9. Review (I)

The procedure in the present essay was largely guided by the premise that studies of this kind should be “systematic“ but that systematization in the strict acceptance of the term is impractical. There is, therefore, little mediation between our different concepts, as e.g. between “workshop“ and “changing combinations“, and neither do we attempt to reduce the methodic apparatus to a small number of basic principles. Moreover, we have not tried to posit an internal typology of such categories as “changing combinations“ (concomitance vs. non-concomitance) or “slot-filler system“ (slot-filler system in general vs. substitution). There is also no hierarchy of analytic terms proceeding from “compositions“ (images) as the higher units to “zones“ (pedestal, parikara-top etc.), “motifs“, and “submotifs“ as the lower units. Nor have we raised any hopes concerning a system of classification within a pantheon (system of types) or within a type (system of varieties). Again we have emphasized the necessity of limitation. We not only selected a limited and cautiously defined corpus but we made it a point to go beyond the boundaries of the specified subject only where it was inevitable and where it could not give rise to unnecessary complications.

For the term “distinction“, we refer the reader to the concluding observations in § 1 where we already observed that this concept should or could be used in a flexible manner. [1] Emphasis on “distinction“ does also not imply automatically that the subjects of the methodic discussion are arranged in clearly separated sections. The same topic may be connected with more than one section of this paper, and consequently it is often difficult to trace a topic with the help of the section titles alone.

As a substitute for systematic structuring we have introduced in this essay the following tetrad:

  1. image-description
  2. statistics (i.e. motif-statistics)
  3. identification
  4. morphology.

The practicability of this pattern is connected with its high level of abstraction or generality. Its description includes a description of the differences between the four elements of the tetrad (image-description vs. statistics, and so on). Apart from that we follow the maxim that each subject requires its own method, e.g., its own specific combination of methodic strategies, and that each method is limited in its application. E.g. classification may be easy in one case and difficult in another.

The connection between JID (i.e. Part II), IJI, and the present study is best described in terms of our tetrad A-D. Element A constituted the basic description in JID. Above (§ 4) we have, of course, suggested a slight extension of this method of description. Element B is outlined in the present essay (§§ 11 ff.) for the corresponding treatment in JID (§§ 124-138A etc.) was not entirely satisfactory. In this connection we should refer to our criticism of JID in IJI §§ 5 (last para) and 10 (second para). In JID, the methodic aid of slot-filler analysis was not available and in the systematic supplement (§§ 124 ff. etc.) emphasis was placed on “styles“ (the early-medieval period) and “classes“ (the medieval period) but not on “varieties“ or “subvarieties“. Element C was illustrated in IJI whereas in JID a systematic discussion of the subject was only given in two sections (§§ 264-65). Observations connecting element C with elements B and D will be found in § 6 of IJI. Element D received considerable attention in JID (see the entries “jaṭā“ and “strands“ in the Index), but we did not at that time succeed in finding a systematic approach for the description of motifs with an involved morphology.

The initial section of Bruhn, Āc. can now be read in the light of § 1 of the present study. In § 1 of Bruhn, Āc. we did not distinguish between “new options“ and the “extension of the methodic canon“. By contrast, § 1 of the present paper illustrated that the “new options“, now presented as a list of five distinctions, are only one instance of extension besides others. Also, the concept of new ways in the “construction of the subject“ (Bruhn, Āc. § 1) has been rendered more precise above in § 1 by way of distinguishing between new subjects stricto sensu and traditional subjects which merely appear in a new light.

In the case of § 8 of IJI we have distinguished between three parts (8-A, 8-B, supplementary paragraph on p.168). In § 8A we examined mainly the question of “non-attributes“. The term is relative. A miniature Jina does not help us to distinguish Jina X from Jina Y but it enables us to distinguish Jinas from non-Jinas, at least Jaina images from Hindu images. In the second case, the miniature Jina is an attribute, in the first case it is not. Motifs like garland-bearers seem to be purely decorative (i.e. always non-attributes) but there may be cases where even such elements function as attributes. In the remaining paragraphs of § 8 we discussed various topics which have now been examined in more detail at various places of the present paper. The term “image-image differentiation“ (title of § 8 of IJI) may be useful as a complement to “internal differentiation“ and “external differentiation“ (§§ 5-7 of IJI) but it is hardly a suitable heading for all the issues treated in § 8. As a consequence, the fifth para of IJI § 4 can be deleted.

It is useful to see the Deogarh monograph (IJI) as well as the earlier article on the Pārśvanātha Temple at Khajuraho [2] in connection with our recent reflections on method. The Khajuraho article described a secondary system or ad hoc system in medieval iconography (AJI § 1). The Deogarh monograph focussed on stylistic pluralism (AJI § 3) and also on the iconographic variability of one and the same type (AJI § 7). Both of these themes may not be palatable to all, but their usefulness in focussing attention on neglected problems cannot be a priori denied.


§ 10. Review (II)

The present section contains a reconsideration of some minor issues discussed in JID, Bruhn (Āc.), and IJI.

(i) The images JID 20a and 21 were dated by us as “post-Gupta“. According to J. Williams they resemble the “early-Gupta Mathurā group“. [3] U.P. Shah feels that JID 20 “may date from the fifth century“ whereas JID 21 “is indeed later“ and “may belong to the end of the sixth century“ (Ghosh, JAA I, p.131). We accept both corrections in principle, but would prefer the dating given by U.P. Shah.

(ii) Emphasis on statistics implies improved standards of documentation. We therefore supply a specimen survey consisting of the photographs (JID and AJI) which show images of the Class with Miniature-Figures (JID §§ 152-55):

Image No. 1:

Image complete. Full view and partial views in JID (see JID § 330 for references). - Navagrahas.

Image No. 160:

Image complete. Full view in JID.

Image No. 161a:

Upper portion only. See JID.

Image No. 161b:

Lower portion only. Full view in JID.

Image No. 162:

Image complete. Full view in JID. - Miniature Jinas.

Image No. 163:

Image partly damaged. Refer for a full view to our Neg. 1753-54. - Miniature Jinas.

Image No. 164:

Image complete. Full view in JID.

Image No. 165:

Image partly damaged. Upper portion shown in JID, full view in AJI 2. - Miniature Jinas.

Image No. 166a:

Upper portion only (partly damaged). See JID and a recent photograph by G. Heil (Berlin). [4] - Pārśva.

Image No. 166b:

Lower portion only (partly damaged). Full view in JID. - Pārśva.

Image No. 167:

Image partly damaged. Lower portion in AJI 3.

Image No. 168:

Upper portion only. Full view in JID. - Miniature Jinas.

Image No. 169:

Image complete. See JID (photograph of the head). Refer for a full view to AJI 14. - Miniature Jinas.

Image No. 170:

Image complete. Full view in JID. - Miniature Jinas.

In JID we suggested that No. 161a and 161b as well as 166a and 166b originally formed two images (161 and 166). However, this is more likely in the case of No.161 than it is in the case of No.166. The Class with Miniature-Figures is not very uniform. Here we do not suggest any major modification in the grouping of the images. It is however obvious that “No.166“ does not belong to this grouping. No.l66a should be included in the “Far Eastern Class“, and No.l66b is possibly connected with the “Double-Snake Group“ (JID §§ 73-78).

(iii) In IJI § 5B (first para), we have distinguished between an earlier and a later opposition in connection with the distinction between Rsabhas and non-Rsabhas. The matter requires further investigations but we are now inclined to use the expression strands (or related elements) hanging down on the shoulders - versus curls (or related elements) for the earlier opposition. It is also necessary to remember that the later opposition already started in the Gupta period. See Shah, Ak. 8b (Gupta image of Ṛṣabha in the Baroda Museum).

(iv) In IJI § 5C (eighth para) we described Jina images with 23 or 24 miniature Jinas - all provided with cihnas - as a local development in Orissa. We only made mention of one single image (Mohapatra 116, Koraput District; all Jinas seated). In the meantime, Cl. Bautze-Picron directed our attention to two more images of this type, one from Gaya in Bihar (all Jinas standing) and one from the West Dinajpur District of West Bengal (all Jinas seated). [5] Good photographs of such Jina images would be very useful in general surveys of Jaina iconography.

(v) In Bruhn (Āc.), § 2, second para, we eliminated from our survey “pieces which are earlier than 1000“. We thereby wanted to indicate that a very interesting lintel, showing three Jinas in a tritīrthika-like arrangement and small figures of ācāryas between the seated Jina in the centre and the two standing lateral Jinas, was not included into our description (Neg. 1934-35). The same applies to an ācārya motif appearing on the pedestal of a Jaina Kubera in the Jhansi Museum (Trivedi, Jha. 77). Such new material and a proper distinction between the earlier (primary) and the later (secondary) opposition (§ 2 supra) could form the basis for a further discussion of the subject. A different issue is the employment of a monk as the main figure in the composition (irrespective of the rendering of the motif). G. Bhattacharya has published in this journal a Pāla sculpture showing a monk as the main figure (Berliner Indologische Studien 1.1985, “Two interesting items of the Pāla period“, see pp. 141-42). This is an interesting parallel even if there is no evidence of a historical connection with the Deogarh slabs. A rather detailed description of a “Pāla monk“ appearing as a subsidiary figure on a Bodhisattva image has been given by the late Professor J.E. van Lohuizen-de Leeuw in her catalogue of the von der Heydt Collection. [6]


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Berliner Indologische Studien

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