By Lisa N. Owen
Drawing on artwork old, epigraphical, and textual facts, this ebook is the 1st full-scale reconstruction of medieval Jain creative and devotional practices on the rock-cut website of Ellora in Maharashtra, India. Created through the 9th and 10th centuries, Ellora's Jain caves are one of the best-preserved examples of medieval Jain paintings in India. whereas this publication in short addresses conventional artwork historic problems with date and iconography, it essentially considers the articulation of sacred house in the caves and the position of images in shaping devotional practices. development upon scholarship that examines Jainism inside of its higher South Asian context, this ebook additionally explores connections among the Jain monuments and their Hindu and Buddhist opposite numbers to bare a lived non secular global at Ellora.
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Extra info for Carving Devotion in the Jain Caves at Ellora
The types of activity depicted in these reliefs, such as visiting a temple or playing music, correspond with textual descriptions of the first bhūmi where both humans and deities attend concerts and dramatic performances in honor of the Jina. Musicians with a variety of instruments are also featured on veranda pillars, suggesting the presence of divine music upon entering this sacred space. Lintels and door jambs in Ellora’s Jain caves are often painted and/or carved with water motifs, such as lotuses, swans, river goddesses, makaras (hybrid aquatic creatures), and nāgas—suggestive of the region of water that surrounds the assembly hall.
The subsidiary excavations carved in the northern and southern enclosure walls, as well as the gateways preceding the temples, create the sense that one is entering into a self-contained celestial abode. The excavation of both monuments deep into the mountain itself adds to this experience as many celestial cities are located at the summit of Mt. Meru, the Golden Peak—the beginning of the heavens. At Ellora, trees and other types of foliage grow along the edges of the enclosure walls of both temples, creating the illusion that the monolithic structure emerges from beneath this vegetation.
15 See Kramrisch (1937, 232-33), Sivaramamurti (1983, 258, figs. 382-83); and Norton (1981, 75-76). 16 More recent scholarship suggests that both the structure and the paintings of the Vardhamāna temple are later in date, ca. seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. See Del Bontà (2009). 17 The reconstruction and re-painting of the temple was discussed by Christoph Emmrich in a paper presented at the 10th Jaina Studies workshop at the Centre of Jaina Studies, SOAS, University of London, 2008. CARVING THE SAMAVASARAṆA 21 published in his 1934 monograph on the site.