Indian paintings and manuscripts illustrate the sacred world of the Jain religion

Paintings made for followers of Jainism, a religion that emerged alongside Buddhism in the sixth century BC, are among the most visually striking of all Indian art. They include large and colorful maps of the cosmos, depictions of the lives of Jain saints, and images of sacred Sanskrit syllables used for meditation. This exhibition presents a group of Jain paintings that have rarely been shown at the MFA—early illustrated manuscripts and newly restored cloth paintings—alongside embroidered book covers and select sculptures. Together, these objects illuminate the potent sacred world of the Jain religion.

Above: Indra praising Mahavira (detail), folio from the “Devasano Pado” Kalpa Sutra, Gujarat, India, about 1475. Opaque watercolor and gold on paper. Gift of John Goelet.


Presented with support from the Patricia B. Jacoby Exhibition Fund.