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  • Object:

    Manuscript page

  • Place of origin:

    Gujarat (made)

  • Date:

    late 15th century to early 16th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted and written in ink, paint and gold on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The Kalpasutra (Book of Rituals) is the most important canonical text in Jain literature for the Svetambaras (white-clad), one of the two sects of Jainism. Jainism is one of the oldest religions to have survived until the present time and its basic teaching is one of non-violence. The Kalpasutra is divided into three sections. The first section deals with the lives of the twenty-four Jinas or Tirthankaras, who were the Jain spiritual teachers or 'ford-makers'. The second part deals with the life of Mahavira, the twenty-fourth Tirthankara. The third part deals with rules for the ascetics and laws during the four months (chaturmas) of the rainy season, when ascetics temporarily abandon their wandering life and settle down amidst the laity. This is the time when the festival of Paryushan is celebrated and the Kalpasutra is traditionally recited.
The folio shows a Jain teacher instructing a monk. it is labelled 'guru' (teacher). Reflecting his importance, the teacher is depicted much larger than his pupil. The teacher is also seated upon a throne. Jain paintings of this period often include depictions of thrones, couches and architectural elements. The stand above the pupil is a sthapanacharya. Stands like these are used today to by monks for the symbol of an absent master, so it is not entirely clear why this would be present in this picture.

Physical description

Page recto of a manuscript of the Kalpasutra, ink, paint and gold on paper, consisting of 91 folios, numbered 1-92, with folio 3 missing and containing 38 illustrations. The text is written in black ink in Prakrit, seven lines to the page between red and gold marginal rules and blue border decoration. The text of a Sanskrit commentary is inserted in small Nagari characters in the margins. Central and marginal string-holes are decorated but not pierced and on the obverse of each folio the central hole only is marked. Folio numbers are written in the lower right-hand corner of the reverse of each folio but are defective from folio 85 onwards due to insect damage. The colophon is written in red on f.92 verso (see Marks).
This folio recto is illustrated with a Jain teacher instructing a monk.

Place of Origin

Gujarat (made)


late 15th century to early 16th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Painted and written in ink, paint and gold on paper


Length: 10.25 in, Height: 4.25 in

Object history note

Purchased in 1959 from Mr. A. Shah c/o. Mrs. G.Charlston, London S.W.16. for £48.

Descriptive line

Jain manuscript page, Kalpasutra, Jain teacher and monk, ink, paint and gold on paper, Gujarat, late 15th and early 16th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Masterpieces of the Kalpasutra Paintings, Sarbhai M. Nawab. 1956.
Catalogue of the Jain Manuscripts of the British Library, Vol.2, page 87, Cat. no. 107.

Production Note

Western India


Paint; Ink; Gold; Paper


Painted; Written

Subjects depicted

Jainism; Monk; Teacher


Paintings; Jain; Manuscripts; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project


South & South East Asia Collection

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