- Arts and Design
Miniature Paintings in Jain Manuscripts
In medieval India, Jain ascetics and scholars wrote thousands of manuscripts related to their sacred text. Most of such manuscripts have colorful miniature paintings.
The Jain miniature paintings are scattered in thousand of Jain manuscripts, which are preserved traditionally in Jain temples, Jain libraries, museums and Jain Mutts. Further, there is a big collection of Jain manuscripts in British Library of London, which is managed with the help of Institute of Jainology. A catalogue of such manuscripts has been published.
Here is a brief introduction to the miniature paintings in Jain manuscripts.
History and Significance of Jain Miniature Paintings
Jain art is one of the important branches of medieval art in India. Jain monks and scholars of medieval India wrote thousands of manuscripts related to their religious philosophy and teaching. These manuscripts contain some beautiful miniature paintings. In fact, Jains are the pioneers of miniature paintings in India.
Although Jain literature goes back to 5th Century before Common Era, the earliest known miniature paintings are from 11th Century. However, it is assumed this art might have started as early as 9th Century. These paintings are from Kalpasutra text. This art of miniature paintings flourished in next few centuries, especially in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Deccan. This art started to decline after 16th century.
The significant feature of Jain miniature paintings is the stylish figures of the women in the paintings. The artists used strong colors and liked to show enlarged eyes of the persons in the paintings. The artist also liked to decorate the persons with ornaments.
Jain miniature paintings are found mainly in old Rajasthani, Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi and Kannada manuscripts. In early era, they were painted on palm leaves, later Jains started to paint on paper. The colors were made especially from vegetables, minerals and even from gold and silver.
Other branches of Indian art were greatly inspired by Jain miniature paintings and they adopted the style of Jains. Other branches include Rajasthani, Mughal, Odissa and some other schools.
Miniature Painting from Kalakacharya Katha
A painting from Jain manuscript Kalakacharya Katha, dated between 1399 -1502.
Size: 10.8 x 26 cm / 4.3 x 12.2 in.
This painting is preserved at Brooklyn museum at New York city. It was gifted to the museum by Martha M. Green.
Miniature Painting from Chandana Malayaqiri Varta
This is a miniature painting from Chandana Malaygiri Varta by the artists Karam and Mahata Chandji. The painting is made from watercolor and gold.
Size: 11.3/8 x 7.7/8 in. / 28.9 x 20.0 cm
Period: 18th Century (1745)
It is preserved at Brooklyn museum, was gifted by Mr. and Mrs. Paul E. Manheim
Lesya, i.e. Mental Attitude Painting
Lesya is a Jain concept of mental attitude, where different persons think and behave differently for getting same thing. In this beautiful multicolored miniature painting from a Jain manuscript, we see that the 6 persons want to get fruits. First one wants to get it by cutting the tree, second one by cutting the branch, another one pulling the fruit by using a hook. The last one on the ground (right) is happy with the fallen fruits.
The painting is from early 17th Century
Miniature Painting from Kalpasutra
Miniature Painting from Kalpasutra
- Angavijja: Ancient Book of Body Language and physiognomy
Angavijja is an ancient book of reading a person through his body language and physiognomy. Ancient Indians used this this science to reveal occult knowledge and foretell the future.
- Famous Jains on Postal Stamps
Many Jains have contributed to development of India and its culture. Some of them have got place on the postal stamps and postal stationary of India. Here are some of the stamps and postal stationary featuring the great Jains.
- Jain Art and Architecture: Jain Temples
Jainism is one of the most ancient religions of the world. There are many beautiful temples built in ancient and medieval period, in various parts of India. Here are some beautiful photographs of Jain temples which are important in view of architectu
- Jain Temples in the Forts
There are Jain temples inside many forts in India, especially in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh
- Gomateshwara Statue at Shravanabelagola: A Wonder
There is a unique statue of Gomateshwar, also known as Bahubali (Armstrong), in southern state of Karnataka in India. The uniqueness of this statue is that this is the world's highest monolithic statue without external support. The statue is 17.6 Met
- Live and Let Live Philosophy of Jainism
Live and Let Live symbol in Jainism teaches us tolerance and love.