Jain saint bronze sculpture to lead Bonhams at $150,000

A bronze sculpture of a Jain saint, otherwise known as a Digambara Jina, will see some of the highest bids in Bonhams' September 18 Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art sale, which forms part of New York's Asia Week.

Jain Jina statue
The body abandoning pose is considering a severe form of penance. This sculpture shows the Jina following the doctrine of non-violence by keeping as still as possible.


The piece, cast in the 9th century, is expected to see bids of $100,000-150,000.

During the 8th and 9th centuries, the Indian region of Tamil Nadu experienced a Jainism revival following an influx of immigrants. The statue was cast during this time, and is one of only a handful from this period known to survive.

The Digambara Jina stands naked in the body abandoning pose, or kayotsarga, reflecting the Jain doctrine of non-violence and rejecting worldly possessions. Jina translates as "to conqueror", and is used to describe one who has won the battle with passions and bodily pleasures.

The statue is unusual due to the shrivatsa mark above its right breast, which is commonly found in the centre of the chest in Jina from north India, but is rarely found among south Indian Jain sculptures.

Further highlights in the sale include a large group of Indian paintings, spanning the 16th-20th centuries.

Leading this section is an illustration from the Bhagavata Purana. It depicts Krishna, Balrama and Nande receiving Akruka, and is attributable to Fattu. It was painted in the Punjab hills around 1765-1770 and is valued at $40,000-60,000.

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