Jain Manuscript Cover

This elaborately decorated Jain manuscript cover showcases the motifs associated with the birth of Mahavira, the 24th tirthankara (teacher) of the Jain religion. In the Shwetambara Jain belief system, the night that Mahavira's embryo entered Queen Trishala's womb, she dreamt 14 dreams, depicted as the 14 symbols on this manuscript cover. The symbols are: an elephant, a bull, a lion, the Goddess Lakshmi, a garland, 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.The entire surface of the cover has been decorated using zardozi (metal thread) embroidery, which typically used gold or silver thread. Zrdozi was associated with royalty and the upper medium of decoration. THe use of zardozi for this manuscript cover attests to the high levels of patronage given to the tradition of Jain manuscript making up till the 20th century.

Indigenous Name
20th century
Western India
Object size: 14.1 x 27.8 x 1.4 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Indian Heritage Centre