Animal Symbols of the Kings of the Twelve Heavens of the Vaimanika Gods
Page from a manuscript of the Sangrahanisutra
Artist/maker unknown, India
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The complex Jain cosmology expounded in the Sangrahanisutra speaks of four classes of gods, the highest of which are called Vaimanika (flying) because they travel in airborne chariots. Each of the twelve Vaimanika gods has a complete heaven, ruled over by a king. Each king is represented by a different animal, as depicted and named in this painting. They are (left to right, top to bottom): antelope, water buffalo, boar, elephant-lion, ram, swimming spotted animal, horse, elephant, snake, rhinoceros, bull, and gazelle.