Reflections of Jaina and Vira-Saiva Interactions in the Art and Architecture of Karnataka

3 June 2022

The Jainas experienced a period of great political and cultural flourishing in Karnataka from about the fifth century CE onwards. In the early/mid-twelfth century, the influence of the community was severely threatened and significantly diminished by newly formed and incoming religious cults. These were largely Vira-Saivas (Lingayats), but to a certain extent, also Sri Vaishnavas and Muslims. As a consequence, the Jainas were deposed, and large sections of the population converted.

This presentation analyses the effects these religious and political changes had on the art and architecture of the Jainas as well as on that of the new ruling elites. Some Jaina statues and temple edifices were partially or completely destroyed, while others were re-used. By not entirely eradicating all traces of the formerly dominant culture and by integrating vestiges into their own artistic traditions, the newly empowered groups entered into an indirect dialogue with Jaina religious customs and artistic traditions, which ultimately changed the cultures of all parties involved.

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Julia AB Hegewald

Julia AB Hegewald graduated from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, from where she also obtained her PhD. She is now Professor and Head of the Dep... Read More