Text, Folio 37 (recto), from a Kalpa-sutra

c. 1475–1500
Location: not on view
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Description

When Mahavira chose to renounce his life as a prince to seek omniscience and ultimate liberation, he traveled from his palace to the countryside until he came to a wooded park. The text states that under an ashoka tree in the park, Mahavira removed his ornaments and garlands and plucked out his hair with his fists in five handfuls. In the illumination he unflinchingly grasps a fistful of hair, his pectoral muscle flexed with the effort. Indra, the four-armed king of the gods, sits under a royal canopy on a lower level than Mahavira and praises his extreme act of self-mortification. The dramatic moment is effectively conveyed through the pert and wiry line drawing and bold palette of pigments made from lapis lazuli, vermilion, and lavish amounts of gold.
Text, Folio 37 (recto), from a Kalpa-sutra

Text, Folio 37 (recto), from a Kalpa-sutra

c. 1475–1500

Western India, Gujarat, last quarter of the 15th century

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