Jainism and Art : Episode 1 : Adinath Teaching the Art of Pottery
Adinath, the first Jain Tirthankar (spiritual teacher of the dharma), dezscribed the civilization process to human beings. He guided and taught people how to cook vegetables instead of eating them raw. Adinath was the master of 72 Arts (including pottery, arithmetic, writing, weaving and carpentry) and passed down those accomplishments to the society during the time when he was an emperor.
This miniature showcases the surreal approach the Indian artist had adapted. The pottery on the head of the elephant, the simple beautification of the elephant, the minimal use of colour and the strong lines create a unique narrative. The artist has significantly used red colour to make the intricate work stand out and show its importance, blue base to support the red and white colour to act as a breathing element.
The blackish brown colour creates an indigenous effect in connecting the viewer. Adinath’s (vaguely interpreted as ‘the world’s first teacher’) left hand’s forefinger signals teaching the art of pottery with another hand. This tranquil artwork indicates the importance given to all art forms since the inception of Jainism by its Tirthankar and also emphasizes the art forms been supported by his followers.