Carving Devotion in the Jain Caves at Ellora


Drawing on art historical, epigraphical, and textual evidence, this book is the first full-scale reconstruction of medieval Jain artistic and devotional practices at the rock-cut site of Ellora in Maharashtra, India. Created during the ninth and tenth centuries, Ellora's Jain caves are among the best-preserved examples of medieval Jain art in India. While this book briefly addresses traditional art historical issues of date and iconography, it primarily considers the articulation of sacred space within the caves and the role of imagery in shaping devotional practices. Building upon scholarship that examines Jainism within its larger South Asian context, this book also explores connections between the Jain monuments and their Hindu and Buddhist counterparts to reveal a lived religious world at Ellora.

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Lisa N. Owen, Ph.D. (2006) in Art History at the University of Texas at Austin, is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Texas. Her publications on India's rock-cut monuments examine how constructed space and imagery shape devotional practices.
'Owen’s volume, part of Brill’s Indological Library, is a refreshing and necessary assessment on the presence of Jain religion and art at the Ellora site. Her expertise and thorough research on the intersections between Jain religion, worship and art, brings forth new methodologies and approaches to the study of South Asian religion and iconography. By highlighting the historical and religious meanings and social functions of each art form and art object, Owen provides not only insight into the painted and sculptured works, but also an understanding of Jain religion and culture as a whole. Her brilliant assessment of the Jain caves is accompanied by five maps, four of which provide details and layout of the site, as well as 115 black and white pictures of Jain painted and sculpted works. This book is a prime resource for any scholar or student of South Asian studies, especially those whose focus is on Jainism.'
Rachel Parikh, University of Cambridge; posted to New Asia Books (
This book will interest scholars and advanced students of South Asian art history, archaeology, medieval history, and religion. Scholars of Jainism will particularly find the book valuable.
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