Overview for Jaina Art
The present text contributes to our knowledge and understanding of the Jaina paintings and minor arts which are of great interest as being the oldest known Indian paintings on paper. In order to make them fully comprehensible the author first describes and illustrates the actual paintings by a short account to Jainism and of the legends of Mahavira and kalakacarya, which are main subject of the pictures. Beginning with a short account of Jainism, the author depicts the life of Mahavira and other Tirthankaras based on Kalpa Sutra in the first three chapters. Chapter four describes the faithful dealings of the holy monk Kallika with the wicked king Gardabhilla. Chapter five gives in detail the explanation of various terms used in the painting. Chapter six studies the whole cosmos according to the Jainas. The author is very clear in his mind about the artist's creation of aesthetic excellence, described in chapter seven. Chapters eight and nine account for the reproduction given in figures which have been taken from the pages of the Jaina MSS. Abbreviated reference is made in the descriptions facing the plates. Author's cogent and remarkably well-documented writings reveal the masterly pen recording the thought of a great master born to interpret Indian art for all time.
Ananda K Coomarswamy (Author)
Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy, the greatest among the Indian Art-historians, was born in Colombo on August 22, 1877. After graduating from the University of London with Honours in Geology in 1900, he became the Director of the Mineralogical Survey of Ceylon. During his three-year's stay in Ceylon, he formed the Ceylon Social Reformation Society and led the University movement in which he initiated the national education, teaching of vernaculars in all schools and revival of Indian culture. Between 1906 and 1917, when he joined as the Curator of Indian Art in the Boston Museum he was busy lecturing on Indian art and formed societies for the study of Indian art. In 1938, he became the Chairman of National Committee for India's Freedom. His contributions on Indian philosophy, religion, art and iconography, painting and literature are of the greatest importance as were his contributions on music, science and Islamic art. He died on September 9, 1974.