Parsvanatha's Austerities: Folio from a Kalpasutra Manuscript
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Overall: 4 3/8 x 10 1/8 in. (11.1 x 25.7 cm)
Anonymous Gift, 1957
Not on view
Parsvanatha, the twenty-third jina, is standing in a body-abandonment meditation posture (kayotsarga) in a forest, enduring a storm sent by an evil force. He receives shelter from the naga-king Dharana, who coils his snake body around the jina and provides a canopy with his sevenhooded head. This well-known story is shared with Buddhism, and we can only speculate as to which came first; certainly Jains claim that the antiquity of Parsvanatha antedates that of the Buddha by several centuries. Indeed, Parsvanatha is claimed to have lived in the sixth century B.C. and may well be the original founder of Jainism rather than Mahavira, a near contemporary of the Buddha.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Peaceful Conquerors: Jain Manuscript Painting," September 10, 2009–March 28, 2010.