Digambara Jain manuscript page: Jina and devotees

Accession Number

Digambara Jain manuscript page: Jina and devotees

Artist Unknown, India, Rajasthan, Sirohi School

Object Creation Date
circa 18th century

Medium & Support
ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper

11 3/8 in x 7 1/16 in (28.9 cm x 17.9 cm);11 3/8 in x 7 1/16 in (28.9 cm x 17.9 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Leo S. Figiel and Dr. and Mrs. Steven J. Figiel.

Label copy
Gallery Rotation Spring/Summer 2012
Jina and devotees from Digambara Jain manuscript
India, Rajasthan, Sirohi School
circa 18th century
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Leo S. Figiel and Dr. and Mrs. Steven J. Figiel, 1975/2.177

Subject matter
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, while commissioning a book fulfills the lay obligation of charity, and 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. Over the centuries, monastic libraries received great quantities of texts, which were employed in the instruction of monks and nuns, themselves discouraged from practicing the art of painting: one text expressly warns of the power of painting to arouse sensual feelings.
In these colorful pages, the golden-hued Jinas and the monks who venerate them are nude, identifying them as belonging to the Digambara (sky-clad) sect of Jainism. A central concern of many medieval hymns and rituals is curing disease with many of the verses promising relief from sickness. The verse that originally accompanied the page on the right was about dropsy, more commonly known as edema. The patient is reclining, belly visibly swollen. The verse tells us, “Those who have been utterly wrecked by their burdensome, swollen abdomens, who are plagued by the terrible disease of dropsy and have given up all hope, become as handsome as the god of Love himself, their bodies anointed with a life-saving nectar, the dust from your lotus feet.” Reciting this verse in prayer to the Jina brings relief from this unendurable disease.
The page on the left praises the divine drum that resounds on the Enlightenment of the Jina, proclaiming the greatness of his teaching. We see in the upper register the Jina seated in meditation with the naked monk Manatuga at his side. In the lower register two gods beat kettle drums, while a third god dances and beats a tambourine.

Physical Description
Multi-colored ink on paper. Reds and golds make up the primary focus colors and are accented by dark blues. Features five figures, two larger figures on the top half of the page and three smaller figures on the bottom. Scene of worship.

Primary Object Classification

Additional Object Classification(s)
Unbound Work

Collection Area

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album leaf
devotional images (religious works)
figures (illustrations)
flowers (plant components)
kettles (vessels)
musical instruments
nudes (representations)
pot drums

2 Related Resources

Art of the Mughal Empire
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Introduction to Manuscripts and Early Print
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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