• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2112

    The Scholar's Vision: The Pal Family Collection

    20 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 271

    A leaf from a Jain manuscript

    India, Gujarat, 16th Century

    Price Realised  


    A leaf from a Jain manuscript
    India, Gujarat, 16th Century
    Each side with text and an illustration, one with the first tirthankara, Parshvanatha, seated on a throne with his seven-snake hood, and the other depicting the birth of Mahavir, the last tirthankara
    Opaque pigments on wasli
    4 3/8 x 10 1/8 (11.2 x 25.7 cm.)

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    The manuscript is painted in the early Chaurapanchashika style characterized by a strong line and palette of colors contrasting in deep reds and ultramarine blues. The pothi format emulates earlier palm-leaf manuscripts down to the red circular markings denoting where the palm leaves would have been joined by string.

    The Kalpasutra (Book of Ritual) is the major canonical text of the Jain religion ascribed to scholar-monk Bhadrabahu (d. 385 B.C.). The first part, Jina Charita, describes in general terms the portents, conception, birth, adoration, renunciation, enlightenment and moksha of the 24 Jain tirthankaras and specifically discusses in reverse chronological order Mahavira, Parsvanatha, Neminatha, and Rishabhnatha (respectively the 24th, 23rd, 22nd and 1st tirthankaras). The second part, Sthaviravali is a recitation of the names of various religious leaders. The third part, Sadhu Samachari, is a prescribed code of conduct for monks and nuns during the monsoon season. The Kalpasutra is still recited today during the 8-day Paryushan Festival.