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Opaque watercolor, ink, silver, and gold on paper
Sheet: 11.2 x 26 cm (4 7/16 x 10 1/4 in.); Matted: 38.1 x 50.8 cm (15 x 20 in.)
On Loan from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection 18.2014.a
In the margins, two female figures stand under arches, serving to beautify the pages of this sacred manuscript. The central section has two pictorial illustrations with a space for text in the middle. The narrative depicted at the left is divided into two scenes, read from top to bottom. Above, two Jain nuns visit their brother and are startled to find him in the form of a lion with an elephant’s head. Terrified, the sisters run to a senior monk, shown below, who consoles them, explaining that their brother had reached such an advanced stage in his religious practice that he gained the ability to perform transformations.
The other narrative scene, to the right, depicts a charioteer attempting to impress Kosha, a dancer, with his archery skill. Later, the dancer would renounce the world to become a Jain nun.
This folio is from one of the most lavish manuscripts known to have been made for the Jain community; its paintings are exemplars of the pert, flattened styles of the 1400s.
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