The horizontal folio from a Kalpasutra manuscript consists of seven lines of text to the left and center broken by a squarish gold symbol framed in a red line and cusped blue lines. Gold diamond shapes framed in red are at the sides, with a vertical red line between the one on the left and the text. Between the text and the right diamond shape there is a painting consisting of three registers of figures against a red ground. The top row depicts three laymen wearing crowns, the middle two monks and a nun and the bottom row three nuns.
Some of the earliest Indian paintings on paper are found in manuscripts of the Kalpasutra, a popular text that recounts the lives the jinas or “spiritual victors” of the Jaina religion. The paper was cut into horizontal pages, following a long tradition of palm-leaf manuscripts. In paper as in earlier palm leaf books, loose-leaf pages were flipped, bottom to top, as one read them; the verso (back or reverse side) of one folio would be seen with the recto (front side) of the following page.
Here monks and nuns sit in rows offering homage to one of the jinas or a teacher, who probably was depicted on the preceding folio. The convention of depicting the faces in profile with a projecting “further eye” is common in early painting throughout northern India. It is only in the early sixteenth century that this “further eye” disappears. This manuscript page is the earliest painting in the exhibition.
A Jina is encircled by a giant halo of ref, green, blue, gold, and white. Within the halo are different creatures, including a tiger, bird, naga, and devotees. The Jina sits nude on a throne with his legs crossed and hands together. Above him are clouds in the sky, and below a monk and devotees.
This is an illustration in a Digambara Jain manuscript of verse 34 of the Bhaktamara Stotra.
This verse praises the glorious halo that surrounds the Jina on his Enlightenment. The presence of the halo is one of the eight pr?tih?rya or so-called miraculous manifestations that accompany the Jina after his Enlightenment. Here the verse describes how the Jina’s halo of light puts to shame all the heavenly bodies. Greater than a multitude of suns, it is also gentler than the moon at night. The poet means to say that the light of the Jina’s halo is comforting not burning, something that is said in Sanskrit poetry of the light of the moon. At the same time, the light of the Jina is as brilliant as the light of countless suns. And by this seeming paradox the poet tells us that the light of the Jina’s halo is not of this world. The halo with its concentric circles also suggests the miraculous preaching assembly, which in turn alerts us to the marvelous appearance of the halo. Like the preaching assembly it is filled with beings of different realms of rebirth: humans, animals, and gods. The small crowned figure at the bottom worshipping the Jina is probably the god Indra.
This drawing depicts a fresco executed by Giovanni Battista Pozzo (c. 1563-1591) for the Peretti Chapel, Santa Susanna, Rome. The scene is the conversion of St. Genesius, a third-century actor who was about to perform a play ridiculing the rite of baptism. He saw a vision during his performance of angels holding a book with his sins and Genesius converted on the spot.
It has been suggested by Szilvia Bodnár that this drawing, and another drawing showing this composition in the collection of the Albertina, predate the final fresco, which is in a horizontal format while the two drawings are portrait format.
Eight worshippers sit to the right of a sky-clad (nude) Jina and monk. They each raise beads in their hands. Below them a struggle is depicted. Two men in shorts wrestle, while a snake, tiger, and elephant rera up beside a fire.
In the Jain religion, book production reflects the integral relationship among the laity, monastic community, and the Jina, or enlightened Jain teacher. The dedication of sacred books for shrines is required of devotees, and while commissioning a book fulfills the lay obligation of charity, beholding a book helps the individual achieve the proper mental state for spiritual guidance. It was customary for a lay donor to commission a copy of a text for presentation to his spiritual teacher and ultimately to the temple library.
A group of figures at the left stand in a vaulted space under a cross. They look towards the lower right of the composition where a man holding a standard with a cross on top is bending forward and offering his hand to an old bearded man in an arched doorway. Above the doorway are several fantastical figures with beaked or animal heads and arms with claws.
After his death and before the Resurrection, Christ descended into Hell to bring out righteous people who had lived before him, including Adam and Eve, Moses, and other Old Testament prophets. Here Christ holds a standard in his left hand while he brings out of hell one of these patriarchs with his right hand. Other redeemed figures look on as the man at the lower right is released from Hell.
A nude monk on the top left sits before a Jina at top right. Three Hindu gods, Harihara, Garuda, and Nandi venerate the Jina in the bottom registers.
A book like this would have been comissioned by a lay devotee to illustrate canonical Jain texts as well as demonstrate peity. Texts like these would have been used for meditation and monastic education.
In this painting, a mischievous demon is depicted in priest’s garb begging for alms.
This painting is an example of Otsu-e, a type of folk painting originating not far from Kyoto in the present-day Shiga Prefecture towns of Otsu, Oiwake, and Otani. Otsu-e were produced with cheap local materials and stencils were used to facilitate mass production, making them affordable even to the lower classes.
By the latter half of the seventeenth century, Otsu-e became more secular. This humorous painting among other Otsu-e had strong popular appeal, and made their way into the art and literature of famous Edo period figures. Otsu-e with iconography associated with beneficial powers would later function as amulets.
This sober, pyramidal composition consists of five figures within an interior. A seated woman and child occupy the center of the composition while flanking her to the left is a kneeling older woman with her left hand on the child her right hand on the cradle. To the right of the seated woman is a putti holding a ewer and standing next to a basin. Standing behind the seated woman is a standing woman with hands raised. All of the women are dressed in generalized classical drapery.
Marcantonio Raimondi has long been associated with the Roman works of Raphael and Marcantonio's engravings are often more than mere transcription of Raphael's works. The classical balance and monumentality of this work suggest that this engraving is derived from a design by Raphael. The Virgin and Child with the standing figure behind may also be a reference to Leonardo's "Virgin and St. Anne".
A portable painting done in ink and gouache on loose-weave, primed cotton, surround by two strips of fabric. This painting has suffered greatly from water damage, running the pigments together.
A portrait of a lama (teacher), dressed in red and monk's robes and a red pandita (scholar's) hat, in confrontation with a blue-faced, three-eyed demon. The lama may be tentatively identified as the early 14th-century master Yungdron Dorje Pal. He is shown here holding a 'kila' dagger in his right hand, while he extends his right hand to offer a skull cup to the blue demon.
Three monks in red robes, two of whom wear folded pandita hats, look on the scene from the lower left corner; in the lower right-hand corner, the blue-skinned dharmapala Mahakala tramples a prone figure. To the viewer's upper left is a meditation deity, a yab-yum pair with flame-red skin. At the upper right, a monk-scholar sits calmly within a blue orb, reading from a text.
Other paintings with this same composition are illustated on http://wwe.himalayanart.org, as follows:
• Rubin Museum of Art in New York City, acc. #F1997.9.1. A
• Erie Art Museum (accession number not given), also in very poor condition