AGE: – Possibly 17th – 18th Century
CONSTRUCTION: – Brass/bronze
DESCRIPTION: – Indian Jain Shrine Tirthankara, unfortunately this piece has been polished, the original patina can still be seen on the inside sections on the back
HEIGHT: – 20.5cm
DEPTH: – 6cm
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Indian Jain Shrine Tirthankara – Jainism is one of the oldest religions in the world and dates back to the 6th Century BC. It is an ancient religion or philosophy with the aim of teaching liberation of the soul, and to live a life of harmlessness. Although there is no one single founder, its teachings over time have been revealed by different Tirthankara’s (teacher or prophet), considered one who has reached a high level of spirituality.
Jainism stems from Brahmanism, as does Hinduism and Buddhism. The core belief in Jainism is non violence and self control towards all living creatures, as well as honesty and truth in words and actions. A worshipper of Jainism renounces all superfluous possessions.
The swastika symbol seen on the back of the shrine has been used by several civilizations dating back thousands of years. It was used by the ancient Greeks, ancient Druids and Celts as well as the Nordic tribes, early Christians and the Teutonic Knights, a German medieval military order which became a purely religious order of the Catholic church, as well as the Indus Valley civilization.
The Jainism swastika symbol differs from that of the Nazi German swastika. In Jainism the symbol can have a negative and a positive connotation depending on how it is drawn. In Hinduism the right-hand swastika is a symbol of the God Vishnu and sun, whereupon the left-hand swastika is the symbol of Kali and magic.
In Jainism the swastika is the symbol of the 7th Tirthankara and it is believed that all holy books and auspicious places must contain the swastika, and that all ceremonies begin and end with swastika mark.