Jain Tantric Diagram (Yantra)

Jain Tantric Diagram (Yantra)
Place Made:
India: Gujarat
15th century
Opaque watercolor on cotton 
23-3/4 x 17-1/8 in. (60.3 x 43.5 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of the Nathan Rubin-Ida Ladd Family Foundation under the bequest of Ester Rubin Portnow 
Accession Number:
© Norton Simon Museum 
Not on View

This painting is a Jain version of a Buddhist mandala. Known as a "yantra," this mystical diagram was used for meditation and represents a "picture of increasing knowledge." Like Hinduism and Buddhism, Jainism was also influenced by tantric or esoteric ideas and practices. Within double triangles in the upper portion of the painting is the great teacher Mahavira, flanked by two attendants, who are surrounded by circles of mantras and floral motifs. In the lower half of the paining, an enthroned image of Parsvanatha, Mahavira's predecessor, is depicted between two additional "yantras."

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