The manuscript

Created in Rājanagara (modern Ahmedabad, India) and written on paper in clear Devanāgarī script, the manuscript features floral decorations and the use of red ink for margins, daṇḍas (vertical lines that are punctuation characters marking the end of verses, periods and sentences) and decorative discs in the middle and sides of folios.

This manuscript is illustrated by twenty-seven fine miniatures in opaque watercolour in the Early Western Indian style with scenes from the text.

What is the Kalpasūtra?

The Kalpasūtra is one of the most important and popular texts in the Śvetāmbara tradition of Jainism. It is formed of a first part which deals with the lives of the Jinas (especially Mahāvīra, Pārśvanātha, Neminātha and Ṛṣabhanātha). The Jinas were all born as princes who renounced their worldly privileges to become mendicants and seek enlightenment through ascetic discipline. The second part includes the praise of early Jain teachers and the monastic rules for the rainy season. Many versions of the text exist, with commentaries of various length and character also in regional languages such as Gujarati and Hindi. The Kalpasūtra is used in daily practice and also read and recited by monks in the Paryuṣaṇa festival of August-September. This ceremonial use explains why Kalpāsutra manuscripts are very often beautifully crafted and richly illustrated.

View images of the entire manuscripts via our Digitised Manuscripts website.

Full title:
Kalpasūtra कल्पसूत्र
1445, India
Manuscript / Illustration
Ardhamagadhi Prakrit
Usage terms

Public Domain. Please consider cultural, religious & ethical sensitivities when re-using this material.

Held by
British Library
Or 13700

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