Skip to Main Content
Tags for: Text and Image in Southern Asia
  • Gallery Rotation
"Transfer of the Embryo" On Loan from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection, 17.2014.a

Transfer of the Embryo (detail), folio 13 recto from a Kalpa-sutra, 1465. Northern India, Uttar Pradesh, Jaunpur. Gum tempera, ink, and gold on paper; sheet: 11.7 x 29.5 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, On loan from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection, 17.2014.a

Text and Image in Southern Asia

Friday, August 26, 2022–Sunday, March 5, 2023
Location:  242B Indian Painting

About The Exhibition

The Cleveland Museum of Art is home to a collection of illuminated Buddhist and Jain manuscript pages, many of which were recently identified and dated by Phyllis Granoff, Lex Hixon Professor Emerita of World Religions at Yale University. This exhibition is dedicated to her work for the museum and is in celebration of her recent retirement. On view are palm-leaf manuscript pages reunited after having been separated, many with colophons providing new information about when and for whom they were made. The installation includes Buddhist manuscripts from the 1100s and shows the development of Jain manuscript painting from the 1200s to 1500s, alongside paintings of how they were used and vintage photographs of sites where they were kept. Small-scale sculptures in stone and gold from the same regions and periods are three-dimensional versions of imagery painted in miniature on the manuscript pages. Illuminated with narrative scenes, depictions of monks, donors, celestials, and enlightened or liberated beings, the exquisite works from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Myanmar (Burma) reveal a surprising diversity of literary sources. The exhibition explores the relationship between the images and the content of the text, adding to a broader understanding of medieval South Asian manuscripts.