CHAKRESHVARI AND WORSHIPPERS
The devastating iconoclastic invasion of the Muslim mercenaries in Gujarat and Rajasthan in the 13th century left a number of temples in a state of ruins. The Jain community was quick to undo its effects and engaged itself in intensive conservation activities, often recorded in the inscriptions from these areas.
The present two panels which are parts of Adinatha shrine show the donors worshipping the yaksha Gomukha (not illustrated) and yakshini Chakreshwari, the Shasanadevatas at the shrine of Adinatha. Yakshini Chakreshvari occupies a miniature shrine in the panel holding two chakras in her two upper hands. A miniature human figure is seated in front of her seat under her folded right leg. The other panel is its exact counterpart and depicts the bull-faced yaksha Gomukha with his mount elephant crouching under his seat. True to his iconographic form, he holds a goad, a noose and a citron in his three hands, while the remaining hand poses the varadamudra.
Though the human figures are of standard portrait types, the rounded modelling and sensitively carved details make these images very lively. Both, Manikya and his wife are seated facing the yaksha and the yakshini, with slightly tilted heads and with hands stylishly folded in the front. Manikya wears his hair in a large bun and has a long beard, probably a custom with the shravakas as depicted in the sculptures and paintings of the early period. His wife is adorned with prominent circular earrings, hollow in the centre, which may be the traditional ornament of their community. The artist’s ingenuity is expressed in the beautiful balloon-like curve of the odhani over the head of the female devotee in both sculptures. An identical representation of the odhani is seen in the paintings of the 12th-century Jain patlis from Western India.
The inscription mentions that the image of Adinatha in the Kanha-Vasahi was restored (jirnoddhara) by Manikya of the Pallivala family, the son of banker Ratna and Jamuna, for the merit of his father. The Jina image was consecrated by Sri Gunachandra of the Chaitra-gaccha. It is interesting that the same inscription is carved on both panels. The panels, therefore, do not seem to be a part of the pedestal of the image as is generally believed but probably occupied a place on either side of the entrance to the shrine.
Dated Samvat 1356=1299
Ladol, Mehsana District, Gujarat
30 x 61 x 10.5 cms.