Archives

Swami Narsimh Bharati

Swami Narsimh Bharati

Size: 9.1 x 6.9 in (23.1 x 17.5 cm)
Date of printing: 1920s-1930s

Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Narasimha Bharathi Mahaswamiji (born as Shivaswami; 11 March 1858-1912) was the head of the Sringeri Sharada Peetham from 1879 to 1912. He is said to have played a significant role in the construction of the Sringeri Complex in Chikkamagaluru.

This is a late half-tone photolithograph from a painting by artist B. B. Joshi. Halftone technique simulates continuous-tone through patterns of round dots, varying in size or in spacing, thus generating a gradient-like effect. Separation of colours is made with a photographic process instead of a manual process. For each colour, a pattern of dots is coated on a metal plate (zinc or aluminum) instead of a litho stone. Over the years the photographic process started gaining popularity as it was faster and easier. Thus, slowly leading to the decline of the workmanship of chromolithographs to deteriorate, and the process of using stone in lithographs stopped.

Shri Gautam Swamiji Maharaj

Shri Gautam Swamiji Maharaj

Size: 17.4 x 13.6 in (44.2 x 34.5 cm)
Date of printing: 1910s-1920s

Gautam Swami was the Ganadhara (chief disciple) of Mahavira,  the 24th and last Jain Tirthankara. In Jain traditional accounts, Gautama is believed to have gained Kevala Jnana (omniscience) immediately after the moksha (liberation) of Mahavira. Gautama is connected with prosperity as he fed some monks using his magical powers.

Parshvnath

Parshvnath

Size: 13.6 x 9.6 in (34.6 x 24.4 cm)
Date of printing: 1910s-1920s

Parshvanatha (or Parshvnath) was the 23rd of the 24 Tirthankaras. The Jain literature places him between the 9th and 8th centuries BC. His animal emblem is the multi-headed cobra. The hood of the snake is painted above the Parshvanatha’s head.

Shri Mahavira Swami

Shri Mahavira Swami

Size of both prints: 19.5 x 14.6 in (49.5 x 37.1 cm)
Date of printing: 1910s-1920s

Mahavira was the 24th Tirthankara (ford makers, prophets of Jainism), the last one of the present cycle of time. He was born in the early part of the 6th century BCE in Bihar into a royal family who were devotees of Parshvanatha, the 23th Tirtankara. When around thirty years old, he left home in pursuit of spiritual awakening. He was a contemporary of Gautama Buddha.

Each tirthankara has a distinct animal. Mahavira’s lion emblem is here painted below his legs in front of the throne.

Many times to create variations the press used the existing lithographic stones and printed the image using different colours. This is an example where the same image has been printed using a different colour in the main idol.

Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708)

Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708)

Size: 19.2 x 14.4 in (48.8 x 36.6 cm)
Date of printing: 1880s-1890s

The couplet Wah Gobind Singh Aape Gur Chela (Wow! Wow! Gobind Singh, himself the Guru and the disciple) was written by Bhai Gurdas Singh, an author contemporary of Guru Gobind Singh. The song is about the actions of Guru when he created Khalsa, a fraternity of Saint Soldiers Sikhs.

Guru Hargobind Singh (1595-1644)

Guru Hargobind Singh (1595-1644)

Size: 19.4 x 14.4 in (49.3 x 36.6 cm)
Date of printing: 1900s-1910s

Guru Hargobind Singh is revered as the sixth of the ten Nanak (gurus) of the Sikh religion. He introduced the process of militarization to Sikhism, as a response to his father’s execution by the Mughal emperor Jahangir.

Sri Vadiraja Tirtharu (c. 1480-1600)

Sri Vadiraja Tirtharu (c. 1480-1600)

Size: 9.5 x 14.2 in (24.1 x 36.1 cm)
Date of printing: 1890s

Mystic poet and philosopher, Sri Vadiraja Tirtharu was a Dvaita philosopher and mystic poet. His favourite deity was Hayagriva (horse neck), an avatar of Vishnu with a human body and a horse’s head. At the left of the image, according to the tradition, the poet offers a plate full of Naivedya (jaggery, almonds, ghee and cooked Bengal gram) to a white horse.

Shri Raghavendra Swami Mantralayam (1595- c. 1671)

Shri Raghavendra Swami Mantralayam (1595- c. 1671)

Size: 13.6 x 9.5 in (34.5 x 24.1 cm)
Date of printing: 1910s-1920s

The saint and theologian Sri Raghavendra Tirtha made interpretation of the principal Upanishads from the standpoint of Dvaita dualism. His shrine at Mantralayam attracts thousands of visitors every year.

Shri Akkalkot Swami (d. 1878)

Shri Akkalkot Swami (d. 1878)

Size: 14.2 x 9.3 in (36.1 x 23.6 cm)
Date of printing: 1910s-1920s

Swami Samarth was a spiritual master of the Dattatreya tradition. As a widely known spiritual figure, he traveled all across the Indian subcontinent and set his abode at Akkalkot, a village in present-day Maharashtra.