Skip to main content

Aspects of Violence (Himsa)

1663-1664
Artist/maker unknown, Indian
According to the philosophy of the Jain religion, animals that are violent to one another are reborn in hell as surely as men who practice cruelty. Each hell has a matching image. The upper left is the first hell for "unreasoning tigers," and the illustration shows a tiger attacking a black buck antelope. The adjacent scenes show a domesticated cheetah carrying a rodent, a bird of prey (perhaps a Eurasian sparrow hawk) with a smaller bird in its beak, and a Gaja-Simha (mythical elephant-lion) with its elephant prey. On the far left of the lower row, a mongoose kills a snake. At the far right, a big fish eats a little one, a scene described as "fish doing bloody deeds." Just to its left, a man shoots rabbits, a scene described as "human beings doing bloody deeds." The sixth hell (second from the left) shows a seated couple and implies the violence of lovemaking....

Object Details

We are always open to learning more about our collections and updating the website. Does this record contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? Contact us here.

Please note that this particular artwork might not be on view when you visit. Don’t worry—we have plenty of exhibitions for you to explore.