Photograph of interior of Luna Vasahi Jain Temple, Dilwara, Mount Abu, Rajasthan India

interior of Luna Vasahi Jain Temple, Dilwara, Mount Abu, Rajasthan, India, c. 1870s
interior of Luna Vasahi Jain Temple, Dilwara, Mount Abu, Rajasthan, India, c. 1870s

Custodian: University of Glasgow Library Special Collections

Reference: Dougan 96, item 57

Luna Vasahi, built c. 1230 C.E., is one of the five Dilwara temples at Mount Abu, a major place of Jain pilgrimage. Its design is based on the nearby Vimal Vasahi temple, built 200 years earlier. Constructed in white marble, it has elaborately carved decoration on walls, columns, dome and ceilings. The carvings include: Tirthankars (humans who assist others in achieving enlightenment and liberation) sitting cross-legged; Jain monks; elephants; and lotus flowers. In its Gudh mandapa (an open hall of columns for public rituals) is a black marble idol of the 22nd Jain Tirthankar Neminatha to whom the temple is dedicated.

Photographer: Colin Murray for Bourne & Shepherd

Material: albumen print photograph

Dimensions: 238 x 290mm

Condition: The print would have been toned but has very slight fading at its edges.

Collection information: Dougan 96 comprises a large album containing 175 photographs (albumen prints produced from wet collodion negatives) of South Asia, taken c. 1860–70. Most of the photographs are the work of Samuel Bourne, considered among the finest 19th-century landscape photographers. The majority of the images feature urban and rural scenes in India; others were taken in Pakistan, Kashmir, Sri Lanka and Burma.

Samuel Bourne worked in India in 1863–70 in partnership with Charles Shepherd. Many of Bourne's images have an almost pastoral appearance reflecting the influence of his English background. Bourne used the wet collodion process, which required that the glass negative plate be coated and sensitised, before being exposed in the camera while still moist and developed immediately afterwards. This made it essential that the photographer had a portable darkroom, in Bourne’s case a tent. His extensive equipment also included hundreds of glass plates up to 300 x 375mm; cameras; chemicals; and all the domestic provisions to survive in remote locations. At times he needed an entourage of sixty people to help him, and had to in inhospitable conditions which ranged from sweltering heat to freezing cold.

Photographs numbered above 2080 were probably taken after Bourne left India and have been attributed to Colin Murray (1840–84) who took Bourne's place at Bourne and Shepherd. There is little information for dating the Murray prints but they are probably from the early 1870s. Bourne produced over 2000 images in seven years; the numbers on prints photographed by Murray rise only a few hundred more.

The Dougan collection documents the development of photography from the 1840s to the early 20th century. It was purchased in 1953 from Robert O. Dougan, at the time the deputy librarian of Trinity College, Dublin.