Endeavours to give a detailed and critical assessment of the origin and development of Jaina Yaksi Ambika. Acknowledged as the Yaksi of the 22nd Jina Arista-nemi or Neminatha, Ambika enjoys worship. The popular worship of Mother representing fertility cult was adopted by the Jainas in the form of an early Yaksi Bahu-putrika. By the close transformed into Yaksi Ambika. The study portrays the evolution of the forms of Ambika in the Jaina Literature and iconographic texts with their visual manifestation in sculpture and painting. The work is based on a detailed and comprehensive study of the images of Ambika from the sites which in past had been the centres of Jaina activities, namely Khajuraho, Osian, Deogarh, Mathura, Kaumbharia, Mt. Abu, Ellora etc. the appendices, illustrations and a detailed bibliography will be found useful by the students of this and allied subject.
About the Author
Dr. Maruti Nandan Prasad Tiwari, Reader, Department of History of Art, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, is a well known scholar of Jaina art and iconography. He has published three books: Jaina Pratima Vijnana (Hindi; Varanasi, 1981), Khajuraho ka Jaina Puratattva (Hindi; Khajuraho, 1987) and a number of research papers. Presently he is working on the 'Mahabharata Scenes in Indian Art' and 'Medieval Indian Sculpture and Iconography'.
Ambika, acknowledged as the Yaksi of the 22nd Jina Aristanemi or Neminatha, enjoyed a specially venerated position in Jaina worship. The popular worship of female principle as 'Mother', representing fertility cult, was adopted by the Jainas in the form of an early Yaksi Bahu-putrika who towards the close of sixth century A.D., was transformed into Yaksi Ambika. The concept and visual form of Ambika, the most popular of all the Jaina Yaksis, have some very interesting and revealing aspects which, however, have so far not been properly studied. Hence, an exclusive work on Ambika was a long felt need.
It has been endeavoured in the present work-a desideratum to give a detailed and critical assessment of the origin and development of the Jaina Yaksi Ambika. The evolution of her iconographic forms, on the basis of Jaina literature and iconographic text with their visual manifestation in sculpture and painting, have been dealt with in great detail. I have personally visited a number of prolific Jaina sites, namely Khajuraho Deogarh, Mathura, Osian, detailed study of the icons of Ambika. The treatment of the subject has always been historical. The sculptural data have been compared with relevant textual prescriptions for showing the development of her iconic forms. Besides nine coherent chapters, k the appendices, the detailed bibliography and illustrations have also been added.
I would like particularly to thank Dr. (Mrs.) Kamal Giri, Reader, Deptt. Of History of Art, Banaras Hindu University and Sri Gopilal Amar, Research Officer, Bharatiya Jnanpith, new Delhi, for their valuable suggestions and kind assistance in preparation of the monograph.
I am also grateful to Prof. (Dr.) K. D. Bajpai, former Tagore Professor and head of the Deptt. Of Ancient Indian History, Culture.
And Archaeology, Sagar University, Sagar, Dr. U. P Shah, former Dy. Director, Oriental institute, Baroda, Sri Krishna Deva, Varanasi and Prof. (Dr.) Anand Krishna, former Head of the Deptt. Of History of Art, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, who have always been source of inspiration and guidance to me.
I am particularly indebted to Shri Bishan Tandon, Director, Bharatiya Jnanpith, New Delhi for kindly giving me an opportunity to prepare a monograph on Ambika. I have greatly been benefited by his valuable comments as well.
I deeply appreciate ungrudging assistance extended to me by the American Institute of Indian Studies, Varanasi and the Archives of the Photographs of Jaina Antiquities of Bharatiya Jnanpith, New Delhi for supplying the photographs. To M/s Bharatiya Jnanpith, New Delhi are m special thanks for publishing this monograph so nicely and timely. The printers are likewise to be thanked for their cooperation.
Although I have made sincere efforts to cast fresh light on different aspects of the iconography of Ambika, I am aware of my personal limitations reflected in the shortcoming of their kind suggestions.
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