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Ārādhakamūrti/Adhiṣṭhāyakamūrti – «Popular Piety, Politics, and the Medieval Jain Temple Portrait»


Jack Laughlin

Many aspects of Medieval Western Indian temple art have been the subject of scholarly attention. One type of temple-image which has been identified but heretofore unstudied is the portrait. This study brings together evidence of more than 200 images of historical lay people and ascetics from the medieval temples of Gujarat and Rajasthan. The author emphasizes Jain specimens, but also includes a number of notable Hindu examples. However, it is the evidence of the Jain portraits that is by far the most significant. This book provides some startling insights into the beliefs and practices of the Śvetāmbara sect of Jainism in a period from about the 12th to 17th centuries. The analysis of lay portraits illuminates some very significant episodes in this period of Jain history. The discussion of monks’ portraits presents much that is contrary to expectation. Evidence indicates that even Jain monks donated portraits of other monks. This is surprising since gifting is a practice commonly thought to be a lay prerogative and not allowed to ascetics. The reasons for these monastic donations are discussed and investigated, and reveal that the worldview of medieval Jain monks was often something very different from that portrayed in much of Jain scholarship to date.
Contents: Jainism – Jain monasticism – Jain monasticism reconsidered – Jain temple art – Jain temple portraiture – Giving in Jainism – Giving and merit transfer in Jainism – Origins of a Jain cult of the monastic dead – Indian iconography.