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6th–7th century C.E.
Black chlorite stone
66 x 40.6 x 12.7 cm (26 x 16 x 5 in.)
Purchased with a gift from Steven M. Kossak, B.A. 1972
Jina Rishabhanatha is the first of twenty-three Jina, “Victors” or “Conquerors” who had crossed through the “torrent of rebirth” before Mahavira (ca. 599–527 B.C.E.), the founder of Jainism. Like Buddha in many images, Rishabhanatha is shown framed by a halo and seated in a yogic posture of meditation, with hands resting on his feet and palms turned upward. Unlike the Buddha, however, he is shown nude (“sky-clad”), representing a condition of absolute detachment from the entanglements of the world. His name literally means “Lord Bull,” and he is identified by the image on his throne of two bulls flanking a wheel. As in Buddhism, in Jainism the wheel symbolizes the teachings of the religion. In its balance and profound serenity, this sculpture exemplifies the achievement of Gupta-period sculptors.
Gupta (ca. 320–600 C.E.) to Pala period (ca. 750–1100)
Art for Yale: Collecting for a New Century, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2007), 166 (detail), 167, pl. 149.
Phyllis Granoff, ed., Victorious Ones: Jain Images of Perfection, exh. cat. (New York: Rubin Museum of Art, 2009), 16263, no. S-02, ill.
Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.