Kalaka and Sakra
Unknown artist, Indian, Gujarat
section from a Kalaka caryakatha manuscript in the Jain tradition, 16th century
Opaque watercolor on paper
Sheet: 10.8 x 26 cm (4 1/4 x 10 1/4 inches)
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Maurice H. Shulman and Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Binney III 60.020.2
This leaf from a dispersed Jain manuscript came from a document held together by stitching at one end. The format derived from the earliest Indian manuscripts which were made of long, narrow palm leaf. The text illustrates the story of the Jain monk Kalaka and the Saka king, an influential moral work in Jainism, an ancient Indian religion that has coexisted with Hinduism and Buddhism since the fifth century BCE. The patron of the manuscript was likely a member of the Svetambaras Jainist sect, which stressed the importance of donating to temples and commissioning books.