India (Gujarat, Jaunpur)
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
4 5/8 x 11 1/2 in. (11.8 x 29.4 cm)
Purchase, Cynthia Hazen Polsky Gift, 1992 (1992.359)
This folio depicts the fourteen auspicious dreams of the Brahmani Devananda, Mahavira's mother, alluded to by the emblems above the bedchamber scene. Queen Trisala experienced the same dreams when the embryo of Mahavira was transferred to her. This painting, which belongs to a unique illustrated Kalpasutra manuscript from Uttar Pradesh, displays an effective use of gold and an intense ultramarine derived from lapis lazuli. The use of these colors demonstrates an awareness of Iranian painting, which had become accessible via Sultanate art. The manuscript to which this folio belongs introduces clear evidence that Jain patronage had extended by this time beyond Gujarat and Rajasthan into central and northern India. While retaining the broad conventions of the western Indian style, it also displays a bold approach to color and ornamentation that connects the archaic western style with the emerging north Indian schools. These gained their fullest expression in the studio workshops of Delhi and surrounding regions, especially in the court style of Malwa and related schools of the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.