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The fourteen auspicious dreams of Queen Trishala, a folio from A folio from the Kalpasutra

early 16th century


Unknown Artist


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.


Place where the work was made

Gujarat India

Cultural origin

Jain Manuscript


early 16th century

Materials used

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.


Purchased 1969


Not on display

Accession number


Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

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.). 3

Jim Masselos, Divine and Courtly Life in Indian Painting, Sydney, 1991. 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, Look, 'Indian Painting', pg. 20-21, Melbourne, Mar 2001, 20 (colour illus.), 21.

Haema Sivanesan, Indian painting, 'Indian Painting', verso of poster., Sydney, 2001. 1.1