Ambika

Due to copyright restrictions, access to this image is restricted to certain sizes outside the University of Michigan.
Ambika sits above her stylized lion mount with a long body and with its tail curled to add support to the seated figure above. She sits with one leg pendant. She has four arms, the back two hold stylized mango clusters and her front right hand holds a large mango. Her left-hand cups a child seated on her left knee. Another child stands on the base to her right. The backing takes on a throne-like form, but she appears to float in front of it, the square-ish base is pierced and the arch of the back is surmounted by an auspicious pot form with leaves creating a volute shape to either side. The sculpture is solid brass, but the eyes and an ornament in her headdress are inlayed with silver.
Artist Unknown, India, Gujarat
17th century
Although the Jaina scriptures associate a particular god and goddess with each of the twenty-four jinas, in practice only a few of these deities are commonly depicted. Ambika, while properly associated with Nemi, the twenty-second jina, is the most popular of the goddesses, and in the Jaina context always appears with one or more children. This does reflect the concept of a universal mother goddess, which is found in many of the religions that developed in India and elsewhere. The artist here uses little modeling for the figure, emphasizing instead her silhouette, with an almost two-dimensional effect. It is interesting to compare this very linear portrayal of a goddess with a similar approach found in paintings from the Kalpasutra, displayed nearby.
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Leo S. Figiel and Dr. and Mrs. Steven J. Figiel.
1975/2.114
Wednesday, June 20, 2018