Transfer of the Embryo of Mahavira, from a Kalpa-sutra

Transfer of the Embryo of Mahavira, from a Kalpa-sutra

c. 1475-1500

Part of a set. See all set records

Gum tempera, ink, and gold on paper

Overall: 12.5 x 25.7 cm (4 15/16 x 10 1/8 in.)

Edward L. Whittemore Fund 1932.119.5



The tiny captions written in Sanskrit to the right of the painting identify the subject of this scene: “abduction of the embryo” and “transfer of the embryo.” The embryo is the unborn founder of the Jain religion.

In this miraculous episode, a goat-headed divinity who presides over miscarriage and childbirth
gently takes the embryo in his cupped hands away from the reclining Brahmin lady in the scene above. Below, he carries it to a queen, who will be his birth mother.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Is something not working on this page? Please email

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email