This is Parsvanatha, one of the twenty-four Tirthankaras. Parsvanatha and Suparsvanatha are two Tirthankaras who have snakes as their cognizance. Here the identification is based on discussion in  Jaina-Rupa-Mandana by Umakant Shah.Parasvanatha back

Parsvanatha is associated with five or seven hood snake, whereas it is one, three or nine hooded snake for Suparsvanatha. The coiling of the snake and it covering the entire back is typical of Parsvanatha.

Here Parsvanatha is in Padmasana with his hands in dhyana mudra. His knees extend beyond the base. Broad shoulders, long limbs and narrow waist highlight his physical features. Parsvanatha is from Digambara, sky-clad, sect of Jainism. The three rings around his neck are not explained.

The back is truly amazing, with the snake’s lively body is coiled in knotted configuration. A Parsvantha bronze with similarnagakal coiling of a snake is published in The Elegant Image: S K Bhansali’s collection by Dr P Pal (page 160).

The snake’s knot here is similar to what we see in Nagakal (Naga stone). See the picture on the side. The photo is from Pratima Kosha by S K Ramachandra Rao, Volume 3, page 208. The knot is slightly different.  Truly this is the first bronze I bought because of the features at the back.parsvanatha-gap

There is Sirachakra at the back and it is not common in Jina bronzes.

Parsvanatha is seated on a multilevel pedestal, an hour glass shaped drum placed on a rectangular base. The bronze is about 11.5 cm in height and there is some ritual wear. This may be more than 200 years old. It is most likely from Karnataka.

One curious thing about his bronze is the gap between his leg and torso and that gap runs all the way to the bottom. See the picture on the side. Given the width of the gap, it unlikely to be casting fault. One possible explanation, this is a way of demonstrating the absence of clothing.



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