Pratimalakshana, Pratima-lakshana, Pratimālakṣaṇa: 10 definitions


Pratimalakshana means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit term Pratimālakṣaṇa can be transliterated into English as Pratimalaksana or Pratimalakshana, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous next»] — Pratimalakshana in Purana glossary
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Pratimālakṣaṇa (प्रतिमालक्षण).—Rules relating to the carving of different sizes of images and of gods to be worshipped in houses: relative proportions of a Navatāla image;1 Specialities of feminine forms;2 Images of other sizes including Rāma, Varāha, Narasimha, of Śiva with ten arms, four or eight arms: defective forms to be condemned;3 Specialities of Ardhanārīśvara or Umāmaheśvara;4 of Śivanārāyaṇa;5 of Brahmā and Kārttikeya;6 of Kātyāyanī;7 of Indra;8 images of Mother goddesses.9 Pedestals of different images—A pedestal is divided into 16 parts; ten kinds of pedestals described: made of stone, earth, wood or a mixture according as the devata is made of;10 The symbol of Śiva in the shape of a phallus, the size depending on the size of the temple: made of ruby, diamond, earth, wood, gold and stone according to one's choice and means.11

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 258. 4-25, 26-57.
  • 2) Ib. 25.8; 58-74.
  • 3) Ib. ch. 25.9.
  • 4) Ib. 260. 1-20.
  • 5) Ib. 260. 21-27.
  • 6) Ib. 260. 40-55.
  • 7) Ib. 260. 56-65.
  • 8) Ib. 260. 66-69.
  • 9) Ib. 261. 24-49.
  • 10) Ib. ch. 262.
  • 11) Ib. ch. 263.
Purana book cover
context information

The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

[«previous next»] — Pratimalakshana in Shilpashastra glossary
Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)

Pratimālakṣaṇa (प्रतिमालक्षण) refers to the “body postures of the icons”, as defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—The body postures mean the āṅgikābhinaya and is classified into three divisions: (1) kai-amaiti or hastas (hand gestures), (2) āsanas (the basic stances) and (3) bhaṅgas (the inflexions of the body). The kai-amaiti or hand gestures are divided into tolirkai and elirkai. The asānas are classified into sthānakas (the standing poses), āsanas (the sitting poses), and śayanas (the reclining poses). The bhaṅgas are the flexiono in the body.

Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

[«previous next»] — Pratimalakshana in Jyotisha glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Brihat Samhita by Varahamihira

Pratimālakṣaṇa (प्रतिमालक्षण) refers to the “casting of images”, according to the Bṛhatsaṃhitā (chapter 2), an encyclopedic Sanskrit work written by Varāhamihira mainly focusing on the science of ancient Indian astronomy astronomy (Jyotiṣa).—Accordingly, “A true Astrologer is also one who has thoroughly mastered the Science of Saṃhitā. [...] It treats of indradhvaja, of the rainbow and of architecture; of the prediction of events from casual words and gestures and from the cawing of crows; of the formation of zodiacal circles for purposes of horary astrology. It treats of the prediction of future events from phenomena connected with the deer, the dog and the motions of the wind; of the construction of temples, towers and palaces; of the casting of images [i.e., pratimālakṣaṇa] and of founding the same; of the growth of plants and trees; of under currents; of certain annual ceremonies to be performed by princes for success in war. [...]”.

Jyotisha book cover
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Jyotisha (ज्योतिष, jyotiṣa or jyotish) refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents the fifth of the six Vedangas (additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas). Jyotisha concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Pratimalakshana in Shaktism glossary
Source: Addaiyan Journal of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences: Tantra Literature of Kerala- Special Reference to Mātṛsadbhāva

Pratimālakṣaṇa (प्रतिमालक्षण) refers to one of the topics dealt with in the Mātṛsadbhāva, one of the earliest Śākta Tantras from Kerala.—Mātṛsadbhāva is a Kerala Tantric ritual manual dealing with the worship of Goddess Bhadrakālī (also known as Rurujit) along with sapta-mātṛs or Seven mothers. The text is believed to be the first Śākta worship text from Kerala. The text is a summary of Southern Brahmayāmala texts and it systematizes and organizes the Yāmala cult of mothers in twenty-eight chapters. The text includes the topics such as [e.g., pratimālakṣaṇa, ...] The Mātṛsadbhāva was written based on the South Indian version of Brahmayālatantra. [...]

Shaktism book cover
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Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

[«previous next»] — Pratimalakshana in Pancaratra glossary
Source: Catalogue of Pancaratra Agama Texts

1) Pratimālakṣaṇa (प्रतिमालक्षण) or “discussion of idols” is the name of the second and fourth chapter of the Agastyasaṃhitā (agastya-brahma-saṃvāda edition), an ancient Pāñcarātra Āgama text dealing with typical Pāñcarātra concepts such as the Vyūhas.

Description of the second chapter [pratimālakṣaṇa]: The beginning of the chapter is full of lapses. * * * The discussion turns first to general matters related to the making of icons: the preliminary rites, the gathering of materials used in their construction, the classification (of uncut stone?) into (“-grīva”) types, the relation of the intended icon to the size of the sanctuary and to the entrance-gates, the homogeneity of materials used in icon-groupings. A classification of icons [citra/ardhacitra/citrābhāsa] is given, followed by a brief discussion of kirīṭa-crowns to be found on the icons’ heads. The narrative then turns briefly to the lotus-shaped pedestal for the icons whereupon the quality of stone to be used is discussed, giving ten types of faults a stone may have which renders it defective. Another typology is given according to the warmth of touch of the stone, etc. Metals that may be much used in making icons is also discussed (lapses in the manuscript render impossible meaning here) * * * arms on icons * * * weapons carried by icons * * * sthānaka * * *

Description of the fourth chapter [pratimālakṣaṇa]: The inside of the sanctuary is to be divided into seven parts ( four are named ), and, depending on the posture and the grouping of the icons, the pedestal(s) will be placed in one or another of these sections (1-9a). Then a discussion of śūlas is given—how one is selected, how the various anatomical divisions are to be made (by pañcakāla, ṣaṭkāla, saptakāla, etc. methods [sc. “-tāla”] found elsewhere in the passage, but not here]), how the śūlas are employed in icons of different postures, etc. (9b-50). Jalādhivāsa (51) is done (to the śūlas?) followed by homa, whereupon the main śūla is made to recline, and it is wrapped in strings, padded out with clay, etc. (52-71). The chapter ends with counsels and rules for using śūlas properly in repairing old images (72-78a).

2) Pratimālakṣaṇa (प्रतिमालक्षण) (lit. “specifications for icons, etc.”) is the name of the seventeenth chapter of the Īśvarasaṃhitā (printed edition), a Pāñcarātra work in 8200 verses and 24 chapters dealing with topics such as routines of temple worship, major and minor festivals, temple-building and initiation.

Description of the chapter [pratimālakṣaṇa]: Idols for worship by those who desire the best results should either be in picture-form [citra], or modelled in clay [mṛt], or fashioned from wood [kāṣṭha], or cast from good metal [saloha] or from iron [ayaḥ] (1). Elaborations on all the above are given (2-8). Precious gems are not generally used for icons (9, 13 ff.). Then follow general directions for procedures of collecting clay for idols (10-12, 17-30), and of collecting stone and wood for making carved images (31-71, 72-91). Thereupon some iconometric rules are given for measurements—general (92-173), for the vigrahas of Hayagrīva and Narasiṃha (174-214), and for vāhanas in conclusion (215-237).

There are six kinds of idols, representing types for use on various occasions: karmārcā, utsavārcā, balyarcā, tīrthakautukārcā, nimittasnapanārcā and śayanārcā. The last five in any temple are the best the measurements of these five are given in proportion to the mūlabera-idol. Their postures are also discussed (238-248a). Temples may be classified, indeed, according to the number and types of idols they contain—ekabera and bāhubera and varieties thereof (248b- 260). The sixteen varieties of pedestals are then discussed (261-281) with their relation to the posture of the icon they support; sometimes the measurement of an icon is itself determined by the pedestal (282 ff.). For utsavabera-icons the pedestals may take different shapes (294-296). In any case, a pedestal must have a fastening spike for attaching the icon, called a “praṇāla”—and the uses and types of these are discussed in closing (297-307).

3) Pratimālakṣaṇa (प्रतिमालक्षण) (lit. “description of images”) is the name of the eleventh chapter of the Kapiñjalasaṃhitā: a Pāñcarātra work consisting of 1550 verses dealing with a variety of topics such as worship in a temple, choosing an Ācārya, architecture, town-planning and iconography.

Description of the chapter [pratimālakṣaṇa]:—The chapter opens with a description of how and from where to collect the materials-metal, stone, clay, gems or wood-that are permissible for use in constructing the kautukabera-icon (2-10a), followed by details for the rituals related to collecting wood from a forest (10b-20), and details concerning collection of stones (21-36). The iconometry of the kautukabera-icon is briefly dealt with (37-45), depending on what material it is made of, before turning to general proportions of the icon's size to the temple-building itself (46-49), to the door (50-52) and to the stambha-post (53). The size of the image, in turn, determines the size of its āsana-seat and its śayana-couch (54-56). Certain remarks are made about the fashioning of the karmārcā-image, balibera -icon, the kautukabimba-icon to be put in a temporary abode (kṛtrimālaya), the yāgabimba-icon and the snānabimba-icon—giving briefly the measurements (57-60). The karmārcā-icon should reflect faithfully the mood of the immovable icon, and it is preferable that this mood be pacific (61-62).

Icons that are made of clay or stone are to be painted (63-64a); while clay icons are suitable for temples in villages (grāma), stone icons are more suitable for temples in town and cities (64b-67a).

Icons are classifiable into three categories “citra,” “ardhacitra,” and “citrābhāsa” (67b-68a). Icons are (further?) classified into those representing human forms, divine forms. etc., and according to varṇa (68b-70).

Pancaratra book cover
context information

Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.

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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[«previous next»] — Pratimalakshana in Jainism glossary
Source: Aspects of Jaina Art and Architecture

Pratimālakṣaṇa (प्रतिमालक्षण) (Sanskrit; in Prakrit: Padimā-lakkhana) refers to “iconographic formulas”.—Images of Tīrthaṃkaras were made of stones, metals, wood, clay, precious gems, jewels or semi-precious stones. Vasunandi, in his Śrāvakācara (c 1 2th century A.D ), says that images of Jinas and others {Siddhas, Ācāryas, and others) should be made according to iconographic formulas (padimā-lakkhana-vihi), the materials used being gems, gold, jewels, silver, brass, pearls, stones etc. Vasubindu, in his Pratisthā-pāṭha, adds crystals, and says that the wise praise images accompanied by a big lotus-seat, the lotus being shown as rising high.

General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit dictionary

[«previous next»] — Pratimalakshana in Sanskrit glossary
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Aufrecht Catalogus Catalogorum

Pratimālakṣaṇa (प्रतिमालक्षण) as mentioned in Aufrecht’s Catalogus Catalogorum:—by Vyāsa. B. 3, 106.
—from Agnipurāṇa. Burnell. 187^b.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Pratimālakṣaṇa (प्रतिमालक्षण):—[=prati-mā-lakṣaṇa] n. Name of [work]

[Sanskrit to German]

Pratimalakshana in German

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Kannada-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Pratimalakshana in Kannada glossary
Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Pratimālakṣaṇa (ಪ್ರತಿಮಾಲಕ್ಷಣ):—

1) [noun] characteristics of or prescribed for making, an idol (esp. of each deity).

2) [noun] a Hindu scripture dealing with the art and science of sculpture.

context information

Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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