Jain Manuscript Cover

This beautifully decorated Jain manuscript cover references the birth of the Mahavira, the 24th tirthankara (teacher) of the Jain religion. While pregnant, his mother had 14 dreams which are illustrated in the top portion of this cover. In order, the symbols are: an elephant, a bull, a lion, the Goddess Lakshmi, garlands, the moon, the sun, a flag, a golden vase, a lake of lotuses, an ocean of milk (depicted by a ship), a chariot, a heap of jewels, and a smokeless fire. Each symbol represents a dream and an important revelation on the future of the Mahavira.

The smaller bottom panel contains 8 auspisious Jain symbols (Ashtamangal). In order from left to right (while viewing them right-side up): swastika, Vardhmanaka (food vessel), Srivatsa, Kalasha (pot), Bhadrasana (seat), Darpan (mirror), pair of fish, and Nandavarta.

The ground of this cover is a red silk and it is embroidered with both silk and metallic thread. Gold ribbon and sequins were also used.

Circa: 19th century

Origin: Gujarat, India

Material: Metallic Thread and Ribbon on Silk

Condition: Very Good

Dimensions: 11" x 10"

Inventory number: TX5192



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