Small bronze statuette of Parsvanâtha
India, 18th-19th Century
Height: 5,5 cm (2 in.).
This bronze is a Jain deity. Jainism, from the Sanskrit word Jina meaning "conqueror", is a religion that prescribes the respect of ahimsa (non-violence), based on the theory of karma, reincarnations and ecology, and put the emphasis on asceticism. Jainism became an important religion during the 6th century BC under Mahavira's influence. Jainism currently has twelve million members worldwide, both ascetics and laymen, mostly in India. The Tirthankaras are Jain masters who were deified because they had achieved liberation. According to the esoteric tradition, there were 720 but only the last 24 are revered. The last two are historical figures: Parshvanâtha (ascetic who founded an order with 8 communities during the 8th or 7th century BC) and Vardhamâna (known as Mahavira, meaning Great Hero, a contemporary of Buddha, his doctrine would have been influenced by the teaching of Parshva). Parshvanâtha is recognizable by the presence of a seven-headed cobra that recalls an episode of his life. One day while he was walking, he saw an old man preparing a fire. Parshvanâtha knew there were two snakes caught in the logs in the fire and warned the old man that he was burning them. The old man instead of saving the snakes became angry with Parshvanâtha and refused to believe him. Parshvanâtha pulled out the flaming log with the badly burned snakes. He had just the time to recite mantras (prayers) for them before they died. Parshvanâtha lived in Varanasi (Benares) and is the most revered Tirthankara. He is closely associated with compassion.
- Item(s) quantity: 1
- Expertissim Reference: 2011050041