We are fortunate to have agreed an extension to the exhibition of the Jain treasures displayed in the John Ritblat Gallery: Treasures of the British Library. The free display is now on until the end of June, allowing you more time to look through the collection and more opportunities to have a tour of the display through JAINpedia volunteers.
The temporary display of ‘Jain Sacred Texts’ at the British Library began on 8th October 2010. The display highlights some of the most important collections of Jain manuscripts outside India.
The earliest specimen in the display is from the Jītakalpasūtra, a very rare manuscript on palm leaf, which is only one of the two existing in the British Library. The manuscript, dated 1201, is in the Prakrit language, in Devanagari script.
The entire display consists of approximately 40 objects from across the Library’s Jain collection. It includes pages from the Saṃgrahaṇīratna, the Kalpasūtra, the Uttarādhyayanasūtra and, very interestingly, the Ādityavaravratakatha. This last is a Jain story from the Digambara sect, the only manuscript from this sect in the display. Finally, the love story of Prince Ḍhola and the maiden Māru is also illustrated. Being fond of all types of stories, Jain monks made it their own even though it is considered to be a Rajasthani folk tale.