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Jain Tantric Diagram (Yantra), 15th century

India: Gujarat, 1400-1499
Opaque watercolor on cotton
23-3/4 x 17-1/8 in. (60.3 x 43.5 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of the Nathan Rubin-Ida Ladd Family Foundation under the bequest of Ester Rubin Portnow
© Norton Simon Museum

Not on view

This painting is a Jain version of a Buddhist mandala. Known as a "yantra," this mystical diagram was used for meditation and represents a "picture of increasing knowledge." Like Hinduism and Buddhism, Jainism was also influenced by tantric or esoteric ideas and practices. Within double triangles in the upper portion of the painting is the great teacher Mahavira, flanked by two attendants, who are surrounded by circles of mantras and floral motifs. In the lower half of the paining, an enthroned image of Parsvanatha, Mahavira's predecessor, is depicted between two additional "yantras."

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