Universität Bonn

Abteilung für Asiatische und Islamische Kunstgeschichte


Jaina rock carvings

The earliest Jaina cave inscription identified so far comes from a cave at Mangulam or Mankulam, on a hill site better known as Kalugumalai. This cave seems continuously to have been inhabited by Jaina ascetics until the ninth century CE. Whilst the early inscriptions in Brāhmī, recording the names of patrons and resident Jaina ascetics, are believed to represent the first attested use of the Brāhmī script, later epigraphic records from Jaina caves written in Tamil are considered the earliest surviving records of the introduction of this new script. Nearby an extended rock face has been adorned with numerous figural carvings displaying an enormous diversity and intricateness of sculptural work.

Rock carvings with large-scale Jinas © Julia A.B. Hegewald
Rows of seated Jinas © Julia A.B. Hegewald
Rock-cut panels © Julia A.B. Hegewald
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