Celestial Performers: Folios from a Kalpasutra Manuscript

India (Gujarat)

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In Jain cosmology, Shakra’s heaven is a blissful place where the jinas reside for eternity. It is populated by celestial dancers, seen here as beautiful maidens sensuously poised in the text margins. These scenes are echoed in the textual descriptions of the Kalpasutra celebrating Mahavira. The manuscript displays an innovative use of red, blue, and green marginal designs that anticipates sixteenth-century styles and lavish gold script on a red ground.

Celestial Performers: Folios from a Kalpasutra Manuscript, Ink and opaque watercolor on paper, India (Gujarat)

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