Leaf from a Jain Manuscript: Kalpa-sutra: Text (recto); Leaf from a Jain Manuscript: Kalpa-sutra: Birth of Mahavira, folio 40 (verso)

Leaf from a Jain Manuscript: Kalpa-sutra: Text (recto); Leaf from a Jain Manuscript: Kalpa-sutra: Birth of Mahavira, folio 40 (verso)

c. 1400

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Opaque watercolor and ink on paper

Overall: 9.4 x 28.4 cm (3 11/16 x 11 3/16 in.)

Gift of Dr. Norman Zaworski 1976.27

Location

Description

The tiny golden-hued infant in the palace chamber will grow to be Mahavira, historical founder of the Jain religion who lived during the 500s BC in northern India. He and his mother Queen Trishala gaze intently and lovingly at one another as two handmaidens holding fly whisks to honor them. Many elements of the image are characteristic of painting styles during the 15th century: the flat red background, two-dimensional sense of space, and the eye extended beyond the boundary of the faces, which are a combination of profile and three-quarter view.

The text on this page describes her joyous and peaceful pregnancy of 9 months, 7-and-a-half days. It goes on to say that Mahavira was born at midnight on the 13th day of the first month of summer, and all omens augured success.

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