‘Jain Vastrapata' brings to you a wealth of material painted on large pieces of cloth and paper. The material is divided in to five chapters: titled Tantric Patas, Non-Tantric Patas, Tirtba Patas, Cosmological Patas, Vijnyaptipatras and Other Patas which include Gyana-Bazi Pata, Chitra-Kavya Pata, and special invitations, Besides vivid pictorial representation, the book explains their usage, purpose, symbolism and ritual practice as well as their social and aesthetic value.
It was only after the inception of the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum of the L.D. Institute of Indology in 1983 that most of the specimens discussed here were brought to public view. In addition to the paintings available in the L.D Museum, a few patas from museums outside India are included.
It is due to the initial efforts of the Late Pandit Laxmanbhai Bhojak, who was then in charge of the manuscripts section of the L.D. Institute of Indology, that the present research could be undertaken. His work in Gujarati was translated into English by the present author, Dr. Shridhar Andhare, who was at that time Director of the L.D. Museum. He introduced additions of style, dates and locations.
Dr. Shridhar Andhare (b. 1933), is a Ph.D. from Bombay University. He Graduated in 1956 from Nagpur University and thereafter passed the G.D. Art (Ptg.) examination from Sir J.J. School of Arts, Bombay in 1960. In 1961, he joined the Prince of Wales Museum Bombay. During 1963-64, he was awarded a British Council Scholarship to learn Restoration of European Paintings at the National Gallery, London. In the Uk, he completed a certificate course on ‘Italian Art of Renaissance’ from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and was awarded Fellowship of the Museums Association (FMA). In 1971, he attended ICOM Seminar at Paris and Grenoble as a delegate from India. During the Festival of India in London, 1982, he was invited to read a paper at the V & A Museum, London.
In 1983, he joined the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum as a Director, where he established the new museum. In 1990, he was a grantee of the JDR (III) Fund to Study museum installation in the USA. In 1992, he was invited by the LA County Museum to contribute an essay in the catalogue of the Peaceful Liberators. He also attended a Seminar at New Orleans and was awarded an Indo-US scholarship to catalogue the Coomaraswamy Collection of Indian drawings at Boston Museum.
In 1994-97, he was awarded a grant by the Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi to work on the Science and Art of Calligraphy and Painting. He is a licensed valuer of “works of art” and an active restorer, with a number of monumental paintings restoration to his credit. He has written 10 books, monographs, and more than 40 research papers which have been published in national and international journals.
Pandit Lakshmanbhai was born on 31.10.1917 in the Patan- based Bhojak family. As a youth, he was introduced to Agam Prabhakar Munishri Punyavijayaji, and decided to leave his Pathshala and work with Munishri. Under Munishri’s guidance, Lakshmanbhai started learning the ancient Indian scripts and also began the study and deciphering of old hand- written manuscripts and would Lakshmanbhai mastered the calligraphy of the old scripts so faithfully copy the old manuscripts, that observers could rarely tell the difference between the original and the new. He carried out restoration of handwritten manuscripts preserved at the jnana bhandaras at Patan, Khambhat, Ahmedabad, Baroda, etc.
Lakshmanbhai worked at Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Institute of Indology from 1956 till 2004. He reorganised the manuscript collection of the L.D. Institute. He was the first paleographer to decipher the copper plate inscription of the Kshatrapa period. He was a favorite of scholars, acharyas and saints (munis), and taught many the knowledge of deciphering ancient scripts. Lakshmanbhai also reorganised the manuscript collection of the Bhogilal Leherchand Institute at Delhi. He completed a detailed book on the inscriptions engraved on the Jain images from Patan, which is Published by B.L. Institute, Delhi.
He began the editing work of the present volume along with the eminent scholar Shri Umakantbhai Shah. Unfortunately, both these scholars are no more. Lakshmanbhai expired in 2004.
The present work by (late) Laxmanbhai Bhojak and Shridhar Andhare deals with the less discussed and less known Jaina (Svetambara) class of Antiquities, namely the vastrapattas. Bhojak was an expert epigrapher and a master of medieval manuscript reading, as also well-versed in the knowledge of the themes and identification of the minor late medieval Jaina objects. Andhare is a well-known expert on the late medieval paintings of different north Indian schools. For long years he worked on the staff of the then Prince of Wales Museum in Mumbai under Dr. Moti Chandra, the eminent art-historian and the Director of the selfsame Museum. I know Andhare since over the last four decades. He retired from the L.D. Museum as the Director and has sustained his interest in research which one notices in his efforts in the field of history of art.
In the present publication, these two scholars have expertly discussed, indeed in sufficient detail on the neglected subject of the Jaina vastrapattas. Those working in the field of minor Jaina antiquities will find here a mine of information as well as very interesting material for further studies.
The large repository of the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Institute of Indology (L.D.I.I.), and its museum in Ahmedabad owes its existence to the generosity and foresight of Muni Shri Punyavijayji, Sheth Shri Kasturbhai Lalbhai, and the Trustees and custodians of other Bhandaras, all of whom presented a variety of cultural material to this Institute to be preserved and used to enhance knowledge. A number of scholars in the past have made use of this material and published their research from time to time in national and international publications.
The pioneering writings of Muniji and his personal interest in painting and calligraphy inspired, to a large extent, scholars like A.Coomaraswamy, N.C. Mehta, Norman Brown, Sarabhai Nawab, Manjulal Majumdar, Moti Chandra, Karl Khandalavala, Umakantbhai P. Shah and others to pursue Jain studies. Initially the accent of research was mainly on miniature paintings and sculptures, these being more readily available, as the material coming from certain Jain Bhandaras was then only partially accessible to scholars. But by 1949, the picture of Jain art became clearer and brighter.
Despite the change, a large quantum of monumental paintings (big patas and scrolls on cloth greater in size than the Jain miniatures) largely remained unattended. Acknowledging this fact, Dr. Umakantbhai P. Shah, then member of the Governing Body of the L.D. Institute of Indology (L.D .I.I.) and a well known scholar of Jain art, was entrusted with the volume way back in 1981. It was his idea to bring to light every single document on the subject collected from various sources, and he actually collected some material also. But towards the later years of his life, due to poor health, he was unable to write much. Unfortunately, in 1989 he suddenly passed away leaving the material unpublished.
Two years later, in 1991, the Governing Body decided to invite the present authors to complete the volume. Umakantbhai's sudden demise made it difficult for us to trace and obtain the material he had collected over the years. We therefore decided to restrict our scope exclusively to the L.D.I.I. material and bring it out as one of the L.D. Series Volumes. But that project did not materialize either, though the book was ready in 1997, since the study of painted book covers (patlis) had already progressed and most of the L.D.I.I. material already published earlier. For this reason, it was decided to exclude the matter already covered from the present publication and restrict it to the rich material of "Jain Monumental Painting," now called "Jain Vastrapatas"; dealing with important cloth paintings from India and abroad.
In 1994, the catalogue of the exhibition, "Peaceful Liberators" on Jain art from India published in Los Angeles, curated and edited by Dr. Pratapaditya Pal, contained an essay by the present author on "Jain Monumental Paintings", which basically set the beginning of this publication.
Subsequently, two major publications on the subject came out. The first was "Steps to Liberation: 2000 years of Jain Art and Religion" by Jan Van Alphen, of the Ethnografisch Museum Anterwerpen, in the year 2000; and thereafter, a volume by Phyllis Granoff, titled "Victorious Ones: Jain Images of Perfection" (Mapin, Ahmedabad, 2009), a sumptuous production that delights the eye. Both these works however deal cursorily with the subject of this publication.
From among other important cloth paintings, the present volume includes two interesting pieces: one is Jayatra Yantra or the Vijay Pataka (Cat. No. 99) from the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), London; and the other is a pata representing scenes from the life of Parshvanatha (Cat. No.100) from the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA. Both are reproduced in the catalogue of "The Peaceful Liberators", Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), USA, 1994, which are unique and significant cloth paintings. In addition to the above patas, we have included two more historically important cloth paintings and discussed them in detail. Both are Vividha- Tirtha Patas, i.e., banners displaying various Jain pilgrimages in a single painting. Both belong to different Institutions in Ahmedabad but, are unique in the sense that they are not only significant historically, but are also aesthetically pleasing, including their large size, colour scheme and composition. Their extensive colophons bear witness to the discerning taste of the connoisseur Sheth Shri Shantidas, a great patron of art, under whose orders these patas were commissioned. Although published by the author earlier, they surely stand as great patas of the middle of the seventeenth century from Gujarat. In the last chapter dealing with other patas, a list of unpublished material from the reserve collection of the L.D .I.I. and the museum is appended together with an exhaustive glossary of terms and a bibliography.
The long scholarly association of late Pt. Lakshmanbhai Bhojak of the L.D.I.I. with Muni Shri Jinavijayji in the beginning, and subsequently with Muni Shri Punyavijayji Maharaja Saheb enabled us to resolve various problems connected with this study. Lakshmanbhai's study of Jain religion and its traditional practices added adequate factual information to this study, while stylistic analysis, dating of the material and provenances of several items have been added by the undersigned from time to time.
I also feel oblidged and indebted to the trustees of the L.D. Institute of Indology and the Museum, namely Late Shri Shrenikbhai Lalbhai, Shri Samveg Lalbhai, Smt. Jayshree Lalbhai, Smt. Radhika Lalbhai for their gesture and encouragement shown to us in getting this volume published.
We acknowledge the courtesy of Sheth Dalpatbhai Maganbhai (Hutheesing) Shardabhuvan Jain Pathashala Trust, Ahmedabad, for their participation in this publication project. We are thankful to them.
During the course of preparing this book, we were advised by a number of reputed scholars, friends and well-wishers. We are thankful to all of them. In particular, I owe a great deal to my close friend, Dr. A.P. Jamkhedkar from Mumbai, for going through the book right from its inception and advising me on various aspects of the book, and to Prof. Anjan Chakravati of B. H. U. Varanasi for initiating me in to publishing this volume.
My thanks are also due to Dr. Kalpana Desai, former Director of C S M V S (earlier Prince Of Wales Museum) - Mumbai, Dr. Usha Bhatiya in Mumbai, Dr. Daljeet and Dr. Vijay Mathur of the National Museum, New Delhi. Dr. R.M. Shah, Pt. Rupendra Kumar Pagariya, Pt. Amrutbhai Patel, Smt. Preetiben Pancholi and Prof. Ratan Parimoo, Direcor, L.D. Museum, Ms. Bulbul Hinglajia and the staff, including Pravinbhai and others for their help. My work would not have been completed without the help of my foreign friends, namely Rosemary Crill and Nicholas Bernard of the V&A Museum, London and Darielle Mason and her staff of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, U.S.A.
I mourn the loss of my deceased friend Shri Jaikishandas Sadani, of the Bharatiya Sanskriti Sansad, Kolkata, whose guidance was of great value, and the late Smt. Malatikutti, formerly a staff member of L.D. Museum, who rendered administrative support initially. May their souls rest in peace.
I shall be failing in my responsibilities if I fail to acknowledge the advice and ashirvada of P. P. Shri Vijayasheelachandra Suri Maharaja Saheb, for going through this book critically and also offering to write the preface.
I appreciate and thank Smt. Bindu Shinoj of Ahmedabad for administrative support throughout the preparation of this publication. I am thankful to Smt. Suguna Ramanathan of Ahmedabad and Ms. Geeta Patkar of Pune for their valuable suggestions while going through the text of the book. For the wonderful design and impeccable execution of this book, my sincere gratitude to Shri Subrata Bhowmick, Ms. Payal Nanavati and their team. I am also thankful to the Pragati Printing Press, Hyderabad and Shri Narendra Paruchuri for their cooperation and service.
Finally, I am extremely thankful to the members of my family, above all my wife Sadhana for her continuous encouragement and support till the end.
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