The fourteen auspicious dreams of Queen Trishala, a folio from A folio from the Kalpasutra
The most popular of all the Jain scriptures was the 'Kalpasutra', or 'Book of precepts', which is believed to have been composed around 300BCE. This sutra is a biography of the last 'jina', or Jain 'conqueror', Mahavira (c599-527 BCE) and this scene from the 'Kalpasutra' illustrates Mahavira's mother Queen Trishala's dream in which she sees 14 auspicious objects that allude to the miracle of Mahavira's birth. The objects are: a lion, an elephant, a bull, the goddess Lakshmi, a pair of garlands, the moon, the sun, a banner, an overflowing pot, a lake with lotuses, the milky ocean, a celestial chariot, a heap of jewels and a smokeless fire. These are symbols of kingship or sovereignty and indicate the importance of the newborn child.
The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.36.
early 16th century
opaque watercolour with gold on paper
11.0 x 7.5 cm image; 11.0 x 26.0 cm sheet
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Not on display
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Palm-leaf and paper: illustrated manuscripts of India and Southeast Asia:
- National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne 11 May 1982–06 Jul 1982
- Art Gallery of Western Australia, Australia 23 Jul 1982–05 Sep 1982
Divine and Courtly Life in Indian Painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Oct 1991–08 Jan 1992
Indian Painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Apr 2001–11 Jun 2001
Intimate Encounters: Indian paintings from Australian collections, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Feb 2007–04 May 2007
Referenced in 5 publications
John Guy and O.P. Agrawal, Palm-leaf and paper: illustrated manuscripts of India and Southeast Asia, Victoria, 1982, 31, 32 (illus.). cat.no. 3
Jim Masselos, Divine and Courtly Life in Indian Painting, Sydney, 1991. cat.no. 2.1
Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Mughals and Maharajas: The Miniature Paintings of Courtly India', Sydney, 2003, 36 (colour illus.), 36 (colour illus., detail).
Haema Sivanesan, Indian painting, 'Indian Painting', verso of poster., Sydney, 2001. cat.no. 1.1
Haema Sivanesan, Look, 'Indian Painting', pg. 20-21, Melbourne, Mar 2001, 20 (colour illus.), 21.