Indian stone stele of Parshvanatha, carved in the 9th or 10th century – estimate €10,000-15,000 at Lempertz.

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He began collecting works of art in the early 1970 and was particularly fascinated by Indian and south-east Asian sculptures, which he sometimes brought with him from the extensive journeys he undertook with his wife. He found other pieces at auctions or bought them from dealers.

Among the lots now for sale is a 3ft 1in (95cm) high Indian stone stele of Parshvanatha, carved in the 9th or 10th century, most probably in the central province of Madhya Pradesh.

Following the tradition of Jainism, Parshvanatha was a so-called tirthankara, which translates literally as ford-maker. That means that he was a spiritual teacher who made a way for others to follow so that they might reach enlightenment.

It is generally acknowledged that Parshvanatha was a historical figure, who lived in the 9th or 8th century BC.

The sculpture on offer portrays an episode from his life according to the teachings of Jainism. After he had saved two snakes from a fire, they became his protectors when he was attacked by his enemies. After a week of assaults, his foes recognised Parshvanatha’s superiority and gave up the fight.

Jansen, who died in 2020, acquired the figure at a Lempertz auction in 1973. It now has a guide of €10,000-15,000.