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2002 articles 1975 articles

Some illustrated Jain manuscripts

Jeremiah P. Losty

Abstract

THE Department of Oriental Manuscripts and Printed Books has recently acquired several illustrated Jain manuscripts of great interest. The earliest is the Uttarddhyayanasutra, one of the four Mulasutras of the Svetambara Canon. The scribe provided no colophon: but the miniatures, in the Early Western Indian style, fix the date of the manuscript as the early sixteenth century and its provenance as Gujarat or southern Rajasthan, in western India. The Prakrit text of the Sutra is accompanied by an anonymous avacurni in Sanskrit; the Department already possesses one other manuscript of this commentary. Or. 2095. The new manuscript has 131 folios in all, measuring 26 x 11 cm. In common with most Hindu and Jain manuscripts of this date, which still retain the ancient format of palm-leaf manuscripts, the text is written parallel to the longer side of the paper folios, which were left unbound. The Prakrit text is written in Jain Ndgari script in the centre of each folio, with the Sanskrit commentary, written in much smaller characters, above and below. Illustrated examples of the Uttarddhyayanasutra are far from numerous - few are to be found outside India and the present manuscript is the first to be acquired by the Department. It has been numbered Or. 13362.

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