Feb 25, 2014

Seated Jina Rishabha Enshrined, from a Jain Manuscript: Kalpa-Sutra

Seated Jina Rishabha Enshrined, from a Jain Manuscript: Kalpa-Sutra

c. 1500

Gum tempera, ink, and gold on paper

Paper: 11.1 x 25.9 cm (4 3/8 x 10 3/16 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William E. Ward 1983.1047



By the 1400s, paper had replaced palm leaves as the primary support for Jain manuscripts. Although binding strings were no longer passed through holes in the manuscript, since they would tear the paper, the location of the holes was maintained by means of ornamented gold lozenges. Followers of Jainism commissioned copies of sacred manuscripts in order to accrue spiritual merit for themselves and their families; adorning the manuscript with paintings increased the merit.

The main figure, painted in gold, sits in eternal meditative bliss, bejeweled to denote his success in reaching liberation. His long hair and the tiny, white bull beneath his crossed ankles identify him as Rishabha.

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