Nov 11, 2014

Birth of Mahavira, folio 40 (verso) from a Kalpa-sutra

Birth of Mahavira, folio 40 (verso) from a Kalpa-sutra

c. 1400

Part of a set. See all set records

Gum tempera, ink, and gold 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

Exhibition

Text and Image in Southern Asia​ (Indian Painting and Himalayan rotation)

Did you know?

Under the swing bed is a box decorated with two geese, filled with paan (betel nut, lime, and spices wrapped in betel leaf).

Description

A queen and her golden newborn lie on a swing, gazing at one another as two attendants hold fly whisks to honor them. The infant is Mahavira, founder of the Jain religion, who lived during the 500s BC in northern India.

Though palm leaf was preferred for sacred texts, Jain communities transitioned to the more readily available material of paper during the 1300s. A hole in the central red dot was made for a binding string.

The margin notes beginning with the “=” sign are comments explaining the text.

See also

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