Western Indian School (12th -16th Century)

  • Comprised of regions of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Malwa.
  • Influenced by Jainism and patronized by Chalukyas.
  • Many religious manuscripts were commissioned from 12th to 16th centuries by princes, ministers and Jain merchants.
  • Jain painting also received impetus because the concept of shaastradaan (donation of books) gained favour amidst the community, where the act of donating illustrated paintings to the monastery’s libraries called bhandars (repositories) was glorified as a gesture of charity, righteousness and gratitude.
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Fig: Birth of Mahavir, Kalpasutra, fifteenth century, Jain Bhandar, Rajasthan

  • Paintings are characterised by vigorous distortion. There is an exaggeration of certain physical traits, eyes, breasts and hips are enlarged.
  • Kalpasutra and Kalakacharya –Katha are two popular Jaina texts illustrated with paintings.
  • Other popularly painted texts are Kalakacharyakatha and Sangrahini Sutra, among others.
  • Kalakacharyakatha narrates the story of Acharya Kalaka, who is on a mission to rescue his abducted sister (a Jain nun) from an evil king.
  • Uttaradhyana Sutra contains the teachings of Mahavir that prescribe the code of conduct that monks should follow and Sangrahini Sutra is a cosmological text composed in the twelfth century that comprises concepts about the structure of the universe and mapping of space.
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