This painting depicts Bahubali, the second son of the first Tirthankara, Rishabhanatha. Though not a Tirthankara Bahubali is worshipped by the Jains as an enlightened soul and is revered for his severe austerities. He is worshipped in Maharashtra and Karnataka by the Digambara sect of Jainism.

The iconography of Bahubali is derived from biographical details which centre round his austerities. Rishabhanatha left his kingdom to his son Bharata who in order to be on Chakravarti, entered into a duel with his brother Bahubali. As the name suggests Bahubali was a strong man, he lifted Bharata and flung him down twice. As he was going to do the same the third time, wisdom overpowered him and he realised the futility of the worldly power. He gently put down his brother and went to the forest to practice austerities to attain Kevlar Gyana (omniscience).

He performed such severe penance that he was surrounded by ant - hills and creepers wound around his legs and spread all over his body.

The depictions of Bahubali in sculptures and paintings show him in standing posture with creepers spread on his body. The 65 feet high Bahubali or Gomateshwara sculpture at Shravanabelagola in Karnataka is an excellent example of this. In present painting also he is depicted in same posture which is known as Kayotsarga pose with creepers spread on his body.

Gift of Shri. Kuldip Singh.


Indian Miniature Paintings

Object Type



Paper and paints


South India


Painting on paper


c. 19th - 20th century CE


South India