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Serpents Protect Parshva from the Flood, from the Kalpa-sutra

Serpents Protect Parshva from the Flood, from the Kalpa-sutra

c. 1500

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Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper

Overall: 12.5 x 25.7 cm (4 15/16 x 10 1/8 in.)

Edward L. Whittemore Fund 1932.119.21

Description

Parshva stands in a yogic posture of meditation, bearing the hardship of the elements, unmoved. When stormwaters threatened his life, serpents shielded him so that he could complete his meditations and reach liberation. One cobra stretched his seven-hooded canopy over his head like an umbrella, while a serpent king and his wife praise him. The abstract gold lines on the blue background represent the waters that rose to the level of his shoulders. In this painting, the image of Parshva wears a white lower garment, which indicates that this manuscript was made for the prominent branch of Jainism that allows monks and nuns to wear white robes.

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