Jain Tirthankaras (Set of 14)

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Size: 5.5 x 4 inches each
Medium: Natural Colours on Paper
Condition: Minor Wear and Tear
Style: Bikaner School of Painting


This is an extremely rare set of 14 paintings depicting Jain Tirthankaras, from the Bikaner School. Jainism has contributed significantly to Indian art and architecture. Jain arts depict life and legends of tirthankaras or other important people, showing them in a seated or standing meditative posture. Yakshas and yakshinis, attendant spirits who guard the tirthankara, are usually shown with them. Each Tirthankara has an emblem associated with them such as a horse, elephant, crocodile etc., which are shown in these paintings. Jain monasticism can be divided into two major denominations: Digambara and Svetambara. These images are from the Svetambara sect.
There are 24 Tirthankaras in Jainism. A Tirthankara is a saviour and spiritual teacher of the dharma (righteous path). The word tirthankara signifies the founder of a tirtha, which is a fordable passage across the sea of interminable births and deaths, the saṃsāra. According to Jains, a Tirthankara is an individual who has conquered the saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth, on their own, and made a path for others to follow. After understanding the true nature of the self or soul, the Tīrthaṅkara attains Kevala Jnana (omniscience).
Some of the paintings have minor tears on the sides, while others have minor time-related discolouration. Overall, the set of 14 paintings is in good condition.

About the Bikaner School of Painting
The Bikaner style of painting is a Rajasthani style developed in the city of Bikaner, capital of a wealthy but isolated state, much of it in the Thar Desert. It is one the many schools of Rajput (or Rajasthani) painting that developed in the late 17th century, with the help of artists from the imperial Mughal workshops, who dispersed after these were run down in the reign of Aurangzeb, who ceased to patronize Mughal painting. The subjects are mostly either court portraits, or illustrations of Hindu texts, making this set of Jain paintings extremely rare. What distinguishes the Bikaner style of painting from other Rajasthani styles of painting are finer lines and a more reserved range of colours, than what are typically present in Mughal artwork.