Uttaradhyayana Sutra, Mahavira preaching
The 'Uttaradhyayana Sutra' is one of the most important sacred books of the Shvetambar Jains, who venerate its antiquity and authority. From the style of its illustrations this manuscript copy is dated to the early 16th century. The main text is written in Ardhamagadhi Prakrit script accompanied by a Sanskrit commentary in smaller 'nagari' characters. The 'Uttaradhyayana Sutra', one of the four 'Mulasutras' of the Jain canon, is a work in 36 chapters, each a sermon on aspects of Jain doctrine and discipline. It is believed by orthodox Jains to contain the actual words of Mahavira, the founder of Jainism. The text is interspersed with lively narratives from folk literature, to keep the reader's attention, and it is by these stories that the 37 miniatures are inspired. Illustrated manuscripts of the 'Uttaradhyayana Sutra' are rare, especially outside India.
Find out more about this manuscript and other sacred texts in Expressions of Faith.