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Posts Tagged ‘jain’

We have had some welcoming developments with regard to the Kapoor loot with respect to the main items in Australian Galleries - namely the Vriddhachalam Ardhanari which we discovered - check statement and the NGA Nataraja check statement- . Thanks to the ABC coverage we now have some very important and interesting documents related to the objects purchased from the same dealer held by the galleries.

We turn our attention to this Seated Jina Mount Abu region, Rajasthan, India

Seated Jina 1163 Sculpture, marble
55.8 h x 45.2 w x 23.1 d cm
Purchased 2003
Accession No: NGA 2003.478

128702

It is clear that the main Jina sculpture is not a perfect match for the Arch.

We now know thanks to the ” Due diligence report” which have now accessed, that it was indeed bought as two different pieces for USD 125,000 in December 2003.

jina_arch1
jina
jina2

The provenance provided:
” bought in Delhi by Sudanese diplomat Abdulla Mehgoub, between 1968 and 1971
with subhash Kapoor of Art of the Past, New York, from 2002 or before”

This was supported by

” Signed letter of provenance from Raj Mehgoub stating that the jina sculpture and arch were purchased in India between 1968 and 1971 by her husband Abdulla Mehgoub, dated 25th Match 2003.
- Expert opinion on the sculpture’s quality and authenticity written by Dr Vidya Dehejia
- Copy of a published article about the sculpture in Arts of Asia, vol 33, no. 6. 2003″

The Provenance is indeed very thin and flies out of the window - based on current information as explained in Chasing Aphrodite

Further the said ” Article” seems to be an Art of Past Advertisement .

advert

Further the same report continues :

“New provenance information found

A comparable jina was found in the sales catalogue for Christie’s sale number 9481 (18 October 2002), South Kensington, London. Close examination suggests that the NGA Jina is the same object sold at the Christie’s sale. The Christie’s catalogue description corresponds to the NGA Jina in terms of size and Materials and its image matches the NGA sculpture exactly.
…..

The details surrounding this, such as the consignor and purchaser, are ye to be confirmed. This information suggests the the provenance letter supplies by Art of the Past was fraudulent, but supports the possibility that the sculpture was legitimately acquired.(sic) It is also possible that the sculpture was purchased at the Christie’s sale by Raj Mehgoub, but this seems unlikely given other information about kapoor.”

Now it gets interesting. This is the Jina sold via Christie and is available through a simple ” google ” check. So you do not need to necessarily subscribe or buy any catalog to view this.

d3995408r

What is more interesting is that the JIna was listed at a base price of $ 1543 - $2315 and sold well above it but even then at a modest $ 6,889.

jina_christies

This was on 12th October 2002 and in our checks there is no comparable Jain marble sold or auctioned during that time. So we are puzzled how even with the addition of the Arch the price of the Jina appreciated from $6889 to $125000 and why the ” Due Diligence report” does not reveal this important little detail? Further being an accountant since the two are distinct pieces and are recorded as separate acquisitions wouldn’t the accounting show the individual amounts instead of lumped under one? If the price NGA paid was fair then was the Christies listing low due to lack of proper provenance? So did Kapoor’s fabricated fake provenance add the $$$$$$$$ ?

Further, from the tone of the report it is clear that despite mounting evidence the NGA plans to hold on to the artifact and hence we are requesting support from volunteers in Rajasthan to help share and forward this photograph and push local vernacular press to publish this photo and seek any information of the possible loot.

128702

The arch is also important as a simple check on main Jain sites in the Jaisalmer and Satrunjaya temples reveal very very similar styled marble arches and many have been recently repaired / replaced. Why were they repaired, do we have any records of loot / robbery etc.

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Parsvanatha_Lodhruva
dsc04390

Unless we can find proof we have to continue to appeal to the Australian Government in good faith and mounting circumstantial evidence otherwise.

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Not all mysteries in archeology need an Indiana Jones or a Lara Croft to make it reveal its secrets, however, if ever there was one that would even baffle them, it is the wonder that stands forgotten in the glory of the famed Murugan temple in Tirupparankundram. That the famed shrine itself is a cave temple is not common knowledge, however there exists another cave at the foothills of the same hill but a little further away to the left as you drive around it.

The main cave face.

cave_face

The first and foremost is the date assignable to the original excavation. The rather plain bulky set of two pillars and pilasters (half pillars) combined with the lack of any artistic fluting on their corbels help us to assign an early 8th C CE date to the cave.
It is very rare to see reliefs on the outer wall of excavated caves as usually we get to so only door guardians. However, in this cave there are many niches into which deep relief sculptures have been carved. We will visit them in the second part of this post as we need to move to the inside - to view some very intricate sculptures, whose superior iconography seem to suggest a 12th C CE to 13th C CE date.

The popular reasoning is that this was an extant Jaina cave which was later converted. Let us look at the shrine that has been cut into the left wall as we enter the cave. Inside this beautifully framed shrine is a relief sculpture of the androgynous from of Shiva as Ardhanari gracefully leaning on his bull mount.

sanctum_tpkundrm

The four armed sculpture has clear demarcation of the Shiva and Sakti portions, with him wearing a thigh length garment while hers is a sari to the knee.

Ardhanari in the Sanctum

ardhanari_cave

For all its grace and form, there are many aberrations in the form. Firstly we do not get to see relief sculptures of this form in any contemporary sites. Secondly it is quite plain that its size is too small for this sanctum’s proportions. The height of the pedestal is more suitable for a seated figure and not a standing figure. The the placement of the bull is also strange. A study of the evolution of the ardhanari form clearly shows the difficulty the sculptor has in balancing the male and female body proportions.

Such early examples are the forms in the Dharmaraja ratha and the Agasteshwara temple in Perungudi. While the Sama banga profile of the Dharamaraja sculpture lacks aesthetic appeal, the problems of the larger male proportions are evident in the Agasteshwara sculpture.

Ardhanari – Dharmaraja Ratha

ardhanari_dharamaraja_ratha

Ardhanari - Agastheswara

ardharari_agastheswara

The sculptors hence bring the Rishabava Vahana and let the form lean on its head to provide the counter balance. This is seen in the later day Chola sculptures including this stunning beauty from Vriddachalam and also seems to be the accepted norm as far as Elephanta.

Ardhanari – Vriddachalam

ardhanari_vriddachalam

Ardhanari - Elephanta

ardhanari_elepanta

The problem now with the Parankundam sculpture is the bull is positioned on the opposite side ie. Not on the male side but is on the female side and hence doesn’t lend the necessary balance to the composition. These are not consistent with the the amount of planning that is needed to complete a rock cut cave shrine.

sanctum

Things seem to further go wrong as we explore the rather crude attempt to shape the pedestal below, but the most crucial aspect of the puzzle rests in the totally unconnected curly patterns on the top.

designs
sanctum_designs

At first glance it would be easy to dismiss them as a tree etc but then only the Daksinamurthy form is shown with a tree canopy on top. This is where we need to explore the Jaina aspects. Take a look at these images.

10thC_hindu_image
K_malai
K_malai2
Tamilnadu_01
jaina_hindu
onambakkam_adinathar

We shall explore more such in part 2….

Photo Courtesy: Mr. Udayan, Mr. Arvind Venkatraman , the hindu archives.
http://www.hindu.com/2003/05/22/stories/2003052203230500.htm
http://www.hindu.com/2006/02/06/stories/2006020602410200.htm
http://www.herenow4u.net/index.php?id=76895

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