With a foreword by the eminent art historian Kapila Vatsyayan, this volume studies the collection of illustrated Jaina paintings along with the early Gita Govinda illustrated folios which are housed in the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum in Ahmedabad since 1993. Pointing out that the exquisite sets of paintings, including the Chaurapanchashika paintings, based on the 50 verses of Bilhana, the eleventh century poet, represent the Gujarati school of painting, it establishes that the Gujarati artists initiated the pictorialisation of poetic themes of divine and human love, culminating with the creative Chaurapanchashika paintings.
Putting together elaborate documentation on the manuscript writing patronised by Jaina acharyas and businessmen and giving the names of a few painters, it examines the Kalpasutra paintings in detail which include Panchakalyanakas, five essential episodes of Tirthankara, followed by chapters on Kalaka Katha and Sangrahani Sutra illustrations. Arguing that the so-called Western Indian style of Jaina paintings was essentially the contribution of Gujarat with epicentre at Patan, it analyses the paintings on Vaishnava themes and Sringara subject matter as emerging out of the Jaina style of Gujarat art. It tries to understand how Gujarati artists contributed to the unique evolution o the Indian pictorial art. It has numerous colour illustrations of Gujarati manuscript paintings to support the textual discussion.
Prof. Ratan Parimoo has been the head of the Department of Art History and Aesthetics at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda for 25 years. He has written extensively on art and art history especially Indian pictorial arts.