Siddhapratima Yantra (Shrine of a Perfected Being)

citation

Though small in size, the shrine is an elaborately detailed architectonic form. Traces of gilding cover the otherwise dark bronze-colored surface. An inlaid inscription is present on the back of the shrine; the inlay is silver. The back plate and the rest of the shrine are composed of brass. The shrine proper contains a significant amount of lead whereas the back has only a very minor amount.

Historical period(s)
Delhi Sultanate period, 1333
Medium
Bronze, copper alloy, traces of gilding, silver
Dimensions
H x W x D: 21.9 x 13.1 x 8.9 cm (8 5/8 x 5 3/16 x 3 1/2 in)
Geography
India
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
F1997.33a-b
On View Location
Freer Gallery 02: Body Image: Arts of the Indian Subcontinent
Classification(s)
Metalwork, Sculpture
Type

Shrine

Keywords
carving, Delhi Sultanate (1206 - 1526), fly whisk, India, inlay, Jainism, shrine, WWII-era provenance
Provenance

Paul Nugent [1]

Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck, New York [2]

To 1997
David Newman, London, to 1997

From 1997
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from David Newman in 1997

Notes:

[1] According to Curatorial Note 3, Vidya Dehejia, December 10, 1997 in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

David Newman
Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck
Paul Nugent

Description

Though small in size, the shrine is an elaborately detailed architectonic form. Traces of gilding cover the otherwise dark bronze-colored surface. An inlaid inscription is present on the back of the shrine; the inlay is silver. The back plate and the rest of the shrine are composed of brass. The shrine proper contains a significant amount of lead whereas the back has only a very minor amount.

Inscription(s)

A silver inlaid inscription along the two sides of the rear inform us that the shrine was commissioned in the year 1333 by merchant Muladeva of the renowned Gurjara family.

Label

This Jain altarpiece is a rare example that features the "presence" of a jina (victor) by suggesting his absence from this world of karma; his form is carved out of the copper sheet that forms the backdrop for this shrine, leaving behind an empty silhouette. Such images were created only by followers of the Digambara Jain tradition of the sky-clad (unclothed) monks, as opposed to the Shvetambara, or white-clad sect. The images are known as siddha-pratima yantra, or "magical diagram depicting a perfected being."

The shrine itself, a replica of a pillared niche, is elaborately carved. Substantial traces of the gilding that once covered it are visible, while a silver inlaid inscription informs us that the shrine was commissioned in 1333 by the merchant Muladeva of the renowned Gurjara family.

Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum