Nov 11, 2014

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

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

c. 1400

Part of a set. See all set records

Ink and color on paper

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

Gift of Dr. Norman Zaworski 1976.27.b



The tiny golden-hued infant in the palace chamber on the other side of this leaf 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 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.

See also
Indian Art
Type of artwork: 

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