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King Kumarapala Pays Reverence to Hemachandra, Folio 2 from a Great Poem about Twos (Dvyashraya Mahakavya) of Hemachandra, with commentary by Abhayatilaka

King Kumarapala Pays Reverence to Hemachandra, Folio 2 from a Great Poem about Twos (Dvyashraya Mahakavya) of Hemachandra, with commentary by Abhayatilaka

1300s

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Gum tempera and ink on palm leaf

Overall: 5.7 x 45.7 cm (2 1/4 x 18 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1971.130.2

Location

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Two barely perceptible inscriptions identify the monk and the layman as Hemachandra and Kumarapala.

Description

The author of the text, Hemachandra (1088–1173) is seated at the left, on a throne. He was a Jain monk, here shown clad in a white robe, with shaven head, holding a cloth before his mouth to screen out any insects he might inadvertently harm by swallowing. Also an attribute of Jain ascetics, who adhere to principles of committing no harm to any living being, is the broom behind his back, used to sweep insects from the path. He wrote this text in 1160, illustrating points of grammar with praiseworthy deeds of his royal patrons, such as King Kumarapala (reigned 1143–1172) of the Solanki dynasty (940–1244) of western India who sits before him.

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