View full screen - View 1 of Lot 66. An illustration to a Kalpasutra manuscript: the future Jina Mahavira in procession, accompanied by a vast throng of gods and men, India, Gujarat, circa 1475-1500.
66

An illustration to a Kalpasutra manuscript: the future Jina Mahavira in procession, accompanied by a vast throng of gods and men, India, Gujarat, circa 1475-1500

Property from the Collection of Betsy Salinger

An illustration to a Kalpasutra manuscript: the future Jina Mahavira in procession, accompanied by a vast throng of gods and men, India, Gujarat, circa 1475-1500

An illustration to a Kalpasutra manuscript: the future Jina Mahavira in procession, accompanied by a vast throng of gods and men, India, Gujarat, circa 1475-1500

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gouache heightened with gold and silver on paper, verso with seven lines of Pali text, written in gold on a red ground


10.8 by 25.2cm.

In good overall condition consistent with age, minor losses and tears to upper and lower edge consolidated, minor areas of loss and rubbing and craquelure to coloured pigments, with some minor specks of staining, gold in good condition, minor crease and loss to blue area in front of and above right-hand standing figure with associated consolidation, as viewed.


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Gopi Krishna Kanoria, Patna (c.1950-80).
Private Collection, London.
Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd., New York, 2002.

The present lot is a rare double-sided folio, possibly from the well-known dispersed Devasano Pado Kalpasutra, considered one of the best and most lavishly illustrated Kalpasutra manuscripts ever created. Such folios are among the most important early Jain manuscript paintings in existence and are scarcely seen on the market. For detailed information about this series see Saryu Doshi, 'The Master of the Devasano Pado Kalpasutra and Kalakacharya Katha' in M.C. Beach, E. Fischer, B.N. Goswamy (eds.), Masters of Indian Painting 1100-1650, (Artibus Asiae Supp.48 I/II), Zurich, 2011, pp.53-56.


The recto depicts Mahavira, the last of Jainism’s twenty-four jinas (saviours), seated on a splendid golden chariot. Numerous gods and attendants flank him as he leaves the city to begin his life of solitude in the forest, and eventual enlightenment. Lively parrots perch on the hands of the gods, dogs run energetically beside the horses, two elephants stride forward. On either side of the page beneath architectural niches are female dancers in graceful, lively poses, their faces in three-quarter profile with the further eye projecting outward, noses sharp and pointed. Above the architectural niches and below the dancers’ feet are words, possibly labels describing the dancing poses.


The narrative is depicted in a highly articulated wiry line, filled with a lavish application of gold embellishments juxtaposed with lapis ultramarine blue - appearing simultaneously as both positive and negative space - seemingly behind and in front of the figures at the same time - evoking fleeting movements of celestial time and space. The application of lapis lazuli is remarkably controlled yet somehow freely spontaneous and is strikingly further augmented with a brilliant crimson red.


The verso bears text written in gold script on a red ground. The panels above and below the text are painted with stylised foliate scroll-like designs interspersed with diamond patterns. Geometric floral patterns adorn the margins. The gold diamond at the centre of the page is intended to suggest the earlier practice in Jain manuscripts of a central hole, through which a single cord was passed, to hold together the folios of the manuscript.


Jain manuscripts were commissioned by wealthy Jain merchants and bankers for donation to Jain monastic libraries, as a way to achieve religious merit. According to Dr. Moti Chandra, the Devasano Pado Kalpasutra was prepared at the behest of the descendant of the great Jain bankers Sana and Jutha, who lived at Gaudar Bandar, near Broach, see Moti Chandra, Jain Miniature Paintings from Western India, Ahmedabad, 1949, p.39. The manuscript’s surviving although incomplete colophon makes reference to a "Minister Deva of Gandhar". Masterful and innovative design, expert calligraphy, and the use of costly materials such as gold, and for the blue pigment, crushed lapis lazuli, contributed to the lavishness and beauty of this manuscript. The Devasano Pado Kalpasutra is housed in the bhandar (library) of the Devasano Pado temple in Ahmedabad.


Karl Khandalavala has stated that at least forty-three of the folios from the original manuscript were dispersed prior to 1948 (see Karl Khandalavala and Moti Chandra, New Documents of Indian Painting, Bombay, 1969, pp.42-43). The present illustration might very well be one of these dispersed folia or otherwise it may have originated in another comparable "companion" manuscript. For a related example from the Edwin Binney 3rd Collection in the San Diego Museum of Art, see accession no.1990.189. For other examples see B.N. Goswamy and U. Bhatia, Painted Visions: The Goenka Collection of Indian Paintings, New Delhi, 1999, pp.12-13, no.11, and Saryu Doshi, Masterpieces of Jain Painting, Bombay, 1985, pp.110-1, no.11.