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Flügel, Peter (2021) 'Jaina Non-Tīrthas in Madhyadeśa II.1: Sites of Non-Memory.' Berliner Indologische Studien, 25. pp. 213-308.

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In Jaina Studies, the articulation between lived religion, cultural memory, and the cultural unconscious remains largely unexamined. The biographies of “founding figures” are obscure, and very little can be said about the origins of key texts and fragments of Jaina material culture found all over South Asia, particularly Madhyadeśa. This study presents results of a preliminary investigation of forgotten, rediscovered and revitalized medieval Digambara sites in Madhyadeśa. Its central concern is the fate of the vestiges of defunct temples that have vanished or will soon disappear, in particular valued Jina images and other sanctified objects, that have been damaged, dispersed or re-assembled. Its main aim is to probe the usefulness of the concept of “non-tīrtha” proposed in the first article of this series of articles The first part of the article presents an analytical model for the classification of different types of non-tīrthas, based on A. Riegl's distinction between two types of use-value informing the "modern cult of monuments", "commemorative value" and "present-day value". The principal new finding is the pervasiveness of the Digambara “heritage temple” in the region in the 20th century. The term “heritage temple” has been introduced in this article as a new analytical category, designating a purposely-maintained or built structure for the preservation of individual objects of religious art, collected from forgotten places or from known ruined sites, where at least the central images are (re-)consecrated and venerated, even if damaged. Heritage temples are paradoxical structures, combining historical commemorative value and religious present-day value. In this respect, heritage temples differ from “archaeological assemblages”, “roadside” or “tree assemblages” and “temple assemblages”, which are unstructured collections of damaged images, mostly Jina statues, found in the vicinity. Tarnished images are usually not venerated by Jainas, because they do not represent the Jaina ideal of perfection. Only very old images considered significant as individual objects offering tantalizing tangible links to the “golden age” of Jaina culture in medieval India or as endowed with magical qualities are not discarded and intentionally retained. In recent decades, Jaina “temple assemblages” are increasingly being turned into “temple museums” or separate “Jaina museums” or “Jaina art museums”. It is argued that with the progressive museification of Jaina heritage the period of the heritage temple is coming to an end by way of re-differentiation of commemorative and religious value. The empirical focus of Part II.1 is the documentation of a ruined early-medieval Digambara Jaina temple site to the north of the village of Bīṭhalā, near Būṛhī Canderī, which will soon be submerged under the waters of a new reservoir. It is argued that the comparison with the remains of other non-tīrthas in the regional shows that medieval Jaina religious culture and art-history developed primarily along north-south rather than east-west routes. The comparative analysis of the iconographic programme of the doorframe of the single remaining temple ruin at Bīṭhalā and its function as a self-referencing device lead to a re-assessment of the received stage-models of architectural development. Finally, a new theory of the medieval Jaina temple as an autopoietic system is outlined.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Cf. Jaina Non-Tīrthas in Madhyadeśa I, Jaina Non-Tīrthas in Madhyadeśa II.2
Keywords: Jaina, Digambara, tīrtha, non-tīrtha, assemblage, collage, collection, heritage temple, museum, Orr river dam, Bīṭhalā, architecture, sculpture, ornament, framing, doorframe, autopoietic system, iconography, Jina, image, sculpture, Alois Riegl, M.B. Garde, Klaus Bruhn, Niklas Luhmann
SOAS Departments & Centres: School Research Centres > Centre of Jaina Studies
Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of Religions & Philosophies
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religions. Mythology. Rationalism
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
N Fine Arts > NB Sculpture
N Fine Arts > NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
ISSN: 09350004
Copyright Statement: With permission of the editor.
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2021 13:13

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