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Asian art

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Jina Munisuvrata

11th century


Unknown Artist


India has produced three of the major religions of the world: Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Jainism, continuously practised since at least 6th century BCE, believes that an immortal soul ('jiva') resides within every living entity. This soul is subjected to repeated rebirths unless it can achieve a state of liberation ('moksha'). Whereas in Buddhism the Buddha is the great teacher, the Jains believe in a group of 24 Jinas ('Liberators'), the last of whom, Vardhamana Mahavira, lived c599-527 BCE. These Jinas are also known as 'Tirthankara' ('Ford crosser'), a title of veneration. There are two communities of Jains: the Digambaras ('skyclad', ie, naked) and the Svetambaras ('white clad'). Both groups stress the path to liberation was one of asceticism and meditation, and they stressed the importance of austere and rigorous ascetic practices. The Digambaras, in their disciplined rejection of any form of attachment to the world, refuse to wear clothing. Images of the 24 Jinas, each one seated cross-legged, hands in lap with palms upwards, are the quintessential icon of Jainism.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, November 2005.


Other Title

Jain Tirthankara

Place where the work was made

Rajasthan India


11th century

Media category


Materials used



47.0 x 55.9 x 29.2 cm

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Purchased 2005


Not on display

Accession number


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

The provenance of this work is under review and records will be updated as new details become available. The Gallery welcomes any information. Contact


Ajit Bhashin, pre 1996, London/England

John Stewart, 1996-1997, acquired in 1996 or 1997 perhaps in London.

Arnold Lieberman, 1998-2005, United States of America, precise date of acquisition to be determined.

Thomas Murray, 2005, United States of America, purchased through Thomas Murray (art dealership) by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2005.

Referenced in 1 publication


Arts of Pacific Asia Show, New York, New York, 2005, cover (colour illus.), 11.