Jaina Sculptural Heritage from Bauridi, District Purulia, West Bengal: A Note

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Dr. Shubha Majumder

The present village, Bauridi is a large village and situated under the

jurisdiction of the Hura Police Station and is about 3 to 4­­­­­­­­ km from the Ladhurka temple complex, which is another important site in this region. In a recently constructed Siva temple opposite a Primary School of this village the author recorded five Jaina icons, of which four are Tirthankara icons and the fifth one is an image of Ambika ). It is evident that the temple has been constructed on a low structural mound

Low structural mound of Bauridi

which has the scattered ruins of a remarkable ancient temple. The local villagers claim that they frequently find fragmentary Jaina sculptural and architectural remains from different parts of this mound. We also recorded two Siva lingas from the eastern part of this mound. The temple site itself is locally known as Bhairavathan and this village was earlier known as Haralia-dih.

 Details of Sculptures:

  1. Image of Tirthankara Candraprabha, from Bauridi

    The image of Tirthankara Candraprabha is damaged and only the lower portion (below the waist) of the image is extant. It reveals the Jina standing in stiff kayotsarga posture on a double-petalled lotus seat placed on panca-ratha pedestal. A stylized lotus creeper with scrolled leaves and buds occupies the centre of the pedestal. The centre lower projected portions of the pedestal contain the crescent moon, identifying the cinha of the Jina and the remaining portion decorated with geometrical motifs. Stylized representations of crouching lions occupies the both the side of decorated lotus creeper. A meal and a female devotee kneeling in namaskara mudra along with ratna – patras heaped with offering are placed on the remaining portions of the pedestal. The Jina is flanked on both sides by stout male cauri-bearers. Unfortunately, the left side cauri-bearer is completely damaged and the face of the right side cauri-bearer is mutilated. The cauri-bearer wear deeply incised loin cloth and elaborate jewellery. They stand on lotus pedestals and their left hands are in katyavalambita posture and the right hands hold a fly-whisk.  This is a caubisi type of image. However, the edges of the back stele, on a projected frame, is relieved with twelve – figures of miniature Tirthankaras  arranged in three vertical rows of two each on either side of the mula-nayaka. Like the principal image, they also stand in kayotsarga posture on a lotus pedestal and their respective lanchanas are carved at the centre of their thrones. They have a plain oval shaped halo. On the basis of their respective lanchanas the twelve – figures of miniature Tirthankaras are identifiable. Right side of the mula-nayaka the Tirthankaras are Vimalanatha, Anantanatha, Kunthanatha, Aranatha, Naminatha and Neminatha (top to bottom). On the left side the Tirthankaras are Dharmanatha, Santinatha, Mallinatha, Munisuvrata, Parsvanatha and Mahavira. The existing portion of the present image shows that the mula-nayaka bears a svelte figure and the carving of the image is very sophisticated. The arms of the Jina hang down vertically along the stiff torso and the finger tips touch the thigh on either side.

  1. Image of Tirthankara Rsabhanatha, from Bauridi

    Among the three images of Rsabhanatha, comparatively well preserved specimen is made of chlorite stone and measures 88 cm x 47 cm x 15 cm. Visually, it is quite schematic and rigid and the plastic tendencies are minimal. The Jina is standing in kayotsarga posture on a double-petalled lotus placed on a pancaratha pedestal. The bull lanchana of the mula-nayaka, is neatly carved on the centre of the pedestal and placed between two crouching lions. A male and a female devotee in namaskara mudra (folded hands) occupies the both the end of the pedestal. The upper portion of the back stele of the image is completely lost and the face of the Tirthankara is slightly mutilated. The mula-nayaka obviously devoid of any worldly attire, has elongated ear-lobes, and most probably wears an elegant jatajuta. The kesa-vallari of the Jian is falling down the sides of the head and over the shoulders. An almost circular sirascakra with leafed edges adorns the head of the saviour. The Jina is flanked on both sides by stout male partially damaged cauri-bearers. They wear deeply incised loin cloths and elaborate jewellery and both of them have plain, small oval shaped halos. Obviously, the modulation of surfaces apparent from the drapery and jewellery are restricted to these parikara elements. These cauri-bearers stand in abhanga pose and holding a fly-whisk in their right hands and left hands are in katyavalambita posture. The back throne of the image consists of posts decorated with mouldings and criss-cross scratched pilasters, supporting a horizontal cross-bar with lightly incised square rhizomes at its ends, above which there are triangular foliated plaques. On the projected part of the back stele there are eight planets (Joytiska-devas) arranged in a vertical row of four on either side of the Jina. Unfortunately, only six planetary deities with bad stage of preservation presently exist. These on the dexter side appear to be Mangal, Brhaspati and Sani; while those on sinister side are Budha, Sukra and Rahu. The image of Surya and Soma are completely lost here. All these figures are seated on high visvapadmas (except Rahu) and show individual iconographic features. The figures of the planetary deities are not possible to study with minute iconic details due to their defaced condition except the Sani, Sukra and Rahu. Sani (Saturn) is clearly distinguished by his peculiar sitting pose and the staff with a roundish top. On the left side Sukra is depict just above the Rahu. In this image the defaced planetary deity Sukra seated in samparyankasana and his right hand is damaged and left hand is resting over his thigh and holding kamandalu. According to the Jaina conical texts Sukra is the ruler of the south- Eastern region and teacher of Demons. None of the Jaina texts refer to the terrific form of un-auspicious planetary deity Rahu who has only been referred to as ruler of south-Western. In the present sculpture the bust portion of the Rahu with his robust like head is visible and his hands are in the tarpana mudra same as in the Brahmanical Navagraha sculptures. In the present image the organization of space evident from the entire composition is remarkable as well as static. Elaborations in the back-slab are kept to a minimum.

  1. Image of Tirthankara Rsabhanatha, from Bauridi

    The second image of Rsabhanatha is measures 86 cm x 60 cm x 18 cm and the head of the mula-nayaka along with the upper part of almost rectangular stele is completely missing. The Jina stands on a lotus placed on a panca-ratha pedestal having a bull flanked by stylized representations of crouching lions in the central part. The right side corner of the pedestal is occupies by the kneeling donor couple while the other side decorated with a ratna-patra heaped with offerings. Though the head of the image is missing however, some hair locks of the Jina is visible. He is attended by two stiff and robust looking cauri-bearers, profusely bejeweled, with their left hands in katyavalambita posture and the right hands holding camaras. They are wearing short almost transparent lower garments and simple ornaments including armlets, wristlets and ekavali. The Jina figure is flanked by pillar like structural appendages surmounted by triangular entities. This is a caubisi type of image. On the edge of the back-slab, on a projected frame, are miniature figures of twenty-four Tirthankaras (presently only twenty exist) arranged in six vertical rows of two each on the either side of the mula-nayaka. Like the principle image they also stand in kayotsarga posture with their respective lanchanas carved below each on a small lotus throne.

  1. Image of Tirthankara Rsabhanatha, from Bauridi

    The third image of Rsabhanatha is very much similar with the earlier image. This is also a damage specimen; only the lower portion (below the abdomen) of the image exists, which is measuring 88 cm x 68 cm x 19 cm. The remaining portion of the edge of the back – slab is relieved with twelve-figures of miniature Jinas arranged in three vertical rows of two each on either side. Like the principle image they also stand in kayotsarga posture with their respective lanchanas carved below each on a small lotus throne. The surviving portion of the body of mula-nayaka shows his natural body and the arms of the Jina hang down vertically along the torso and the finger tips touch the thigh on either side. In this image the mula-nayaka stands in kayotsarga posture on a on a double-petalled lotus placed on a panca-ratha pedestal. The Jina is flanked on both sides by stout male cauri-bearers stands on double-petalled lotus placed on same pedestal. They wear deeply incised loin cloths and elaborate jewellery. Obviously, the modulation of surfaces apparent from the drapery and jewellery are restricted to these parikara elements. These cauri-bearers stand on lotus pedestals and their left hands are in katyavalambita posture and the right hands hold a fly-whisk. The pedestal of the image is of considerable iconographic interest. A stylized lotus creeper with scroll leaves and buds occupies the centre of the pedestal below, under which there is a decorated bull, the identifying cinha of the Jina. The bull is flanked by a male and a female devotee kneeling in namaskara mudra. Two lions crouching in opposite direction occupies the both the end of the pedestal.

  1. Image of Yaksi Ambika, from Bauridi

    Like the other images of this collection the image of Ambika, Yaksi of Tirthankara Neminatha, is also damaged. In this image only the lower portion (below the abdomen) of the deity is surviving and its measures 77 cm x 57 cm x 17 cm. The bejeweled goddess stands in graceful abhanga posture on a double-petalled lotus placed on a panca-ratha pedestal. She is holding a frolicking little child, who is her younger son Prabhankara, with her left hand. In her right arm she possibly holding the branch of a mango tree, unfortunately this is broken now. A male attendant, who is her elder son Subhakara, stands in cross leg posture to her right side and holding a punthi in his left arm-pit. The goddess wears a diaphanous sari fastened by an ornamented girdle and profuse jewellery. Some parts of her long scarf falling on her both side. She wears multi-stranded armlets, mekhala, ratnopavita, etc. Left side of the damaged stele of the deity consist a lady cauri-bearer. The projected part of the pedestal below reveals a lion, the vahana of the Yaksi. The stylized lion is flanked by a male and a female devotee kneeling in namaskara mudra.  Iconographically the present image of Ambika is more or less similar with the Ambika images from Pakbirra. On the basis of stylistic ground and iconographic features the above discuss Jian images are belongs to c. 10th to 12th century CE.

Except these above mention Jaina images some broken architectural parts are scattered in the nearby area of the modern temple and according to the local villagers they collected these type of structural remains from this mound. These sculptural relics along with the architectural ruins indicate that there must be a huge Jaina temple during the early medieval period. This site needs proper scientific excavation to known the hidden history of this site.


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Post Author: Shubha Majumder

Shubha Majumder
Deputy Superintendent Archaeologist of Archaeological Survey of India, Completed his PhD on Jainism in ancient Bengal.

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