Head of Jina
Origin: Java, Indonesia
Date: 780 to 850 CE
Measurements: 36 cm
Medium: Volcanic stone (Trachyt)
Source: State Museum of Ethnology, Munich, Germany
The Jinas of the famous Buddhist monument of Borobudur in Central Java are objects of worship and meditation. According to the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism the four or five Jinas Amitabha, Ratnasambhava, Amoghasiddhi, Akshobya and Samantabhadra are manifestations of the Buddha Gautama who is venerated as the highest being Vairocana. For these reasons, the Jinas are not different in appearance, they can only be distinguished by the position of their hands or mudras. They represent different stages in the life of the Buddha, are related to the points of the compass, to certain colours and to certain parts of the human body. Each of them represents a stage in meditation.
After the rediscovery of Borobudur by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1814, the Jina head was collected by the German Professor Caspar Georg Carl Reinwardt, the founder of the famous Botanical Garden in Bogor, during his travels in Java between 1816 and 1822. Dr. Johann Georg Wagler from Munich, who travelled to Leiden in 1825, met Prof. Reinwardt, acquired the Jina head and gave it to King Ludwig I. of Bavaria as a gift in 1826. After being part of the private collection of King Ludwig I. it was included in the collection of the Glyptothek (built between 1816 and 1830). In 1913 it was transferred to the Royal Ethnographic Collection which later became the State Museum of Ethnology Munich.