Contact Us

Views: Portraying Place and Space 2nd Exhibit from the David Rumsey Map Center, January 22 - August 31, 2017

[ Cosmological Diagram - The World of Mortals]
[ Cosmological Diagram - The World of Mortals]
[Jain culture].
atlas, cartographic image, Maps, Manuscript maps., World maps., Pictorial maps., Manuscript maps, World maps, Pictorial maps, Jainism, Cosmology, and Jainism
Physical Description:
1 map : gouache on fabric ; 80 x 80 cm
Publication Info:
Place of publication not identified :
approximately 1850].
atlas, cartographic image, Maps, Manuscript maps., World maps., and Pictorial maps.
  • Date estimated. From a description of a similar Jain painting at the Johnson Museum at Cornell University: "This large painting consists of a map-like rendering of the middle world, one of three worlds that comprise the Jain universe. Located between the celestial realm and the lower world of the damned, this middle world is where mortals and all sentient beings live and is the place from which liberation becomes possible. The composition takes the form of a series of concentric circles representing continents and oceans. In the center lies the continent of Jambudvipa, location of India and Mount Meru, surrounded by two oceans and two-and-a-half more continents. The oceans are filled with various aquatic creatures, while the continents contain humans, animals, rivers, and land features, including the five cosmic mountains, shown along the horizontal axis of the painting as yellow disks with pairs of multicolored, arch-like forms. Enshrined Jinas occupy the vertical axis of the continents and also appear in the four corners of the painting." (see http://museum.cornel ian-pacific/south-as ia/jain-cosmological -diagram-world-morta ls). Our Jain map is similar, it also depicts Jambudvipa with the region of Mahavideha, bounded north and south by mountain ranges with Mount Meru at its center and "elephant tusk" shaped mountains encompassing the regions of Uttarakuru to the north and Devakuru to the south. At the lower part of the map is the bow-shaped region of Bharata, representing India itself.
  • Manuscript map.
David Rumsey Map Collection at Stanford University Libraries
Sub Theme:
[Cosmological Diagram - The World of Mortals], [Jain Culture], 1850
Detailed Description:
Hand painted, this cosmological map takes the form of concentric circles showing the three worlds that make up the Jain universe: the outer celestial realm, the middle world of living beings, and the lower world of the damned. According to literature about this diagram, the figure at the center represents a man with his hands up and legs outstretched. Modern day Jainism was shaped by Mahavira around 500 BC, near Patna in present-day Bihar State, India. Jains believe that everything has life, including inanimate objects such as stones.