Thursday, March 18, 2010
Jain Digambara, Tirthankara Standing in Kayotsarga Meditation Posture
India, Karnataka, Chalukyan period, 9th century
Copper alloy; H. 13 1/8 in. (33.3 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1995 (1995.423)
The Deccan Plateau and Tamil Nadu were strongholds of the Digambara sect, the "sky clad," or those who go naked. Jainism prospered in the south, attracting patronage from Pandyan and other rulers throughout the first millennium. Most images from that region depict jinas as fully committed renunciants, unencumbered by material possessions. Images of a tirthankara standing in the austerity meditation "body-abandonment" posture are among the most understated and beautiful of the period, and thus successfully embody the essence of the doctrine of renunciation of the material world.