Jain Digambara Tirthanhara Standing in Kayotsarga Meditation Posture

India (Deccan, Karnataka)

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 243

A tirthankara is standing in kayotsarga, or austerity meditation. The figure is austere, completely lacking in "adornment" (alamkara), a virtue in Hindu sculpture but seen by Digambara Jains as counter to the vows of renunciation. The short hair curls are an anomaly, as they mimic the Buddhist convention of short curls left after cutting off the hair with a sword rather than the required Jain practice of plucking out one's own hair. The extended earlobes share a common ancestry, denoting a personage who once wore heavy jewelry, implying that all jinas were of high birth.

Jain Digambara Tirthanhara Standing in Kayotsarga Meditation Posture, Copper alloy, India (Deccan, Karnataka)

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