What is a Jain manuscript?


Calligraphy in the strict sense of the term is not a part of the Jain or Indian manuscript tradition as it is in the Arab, Chinese or Japanese cultures.

However, there are instances of something that comes close to calligraphy. This can be seen in some of the Kalpa-sūtra manuscripts. There the script can be large and extremely well-formed in a way that distinguishes it from ordinary handwriting.

This manuscript page demonstrates several interesting features. The Jaina Devanāgarī script is almost like calligraphy here in its size and the care taken. The vertical red lines punctuate verses while each verse number comes at the end of the verse.

Writing, punctuation and verse numbers
Image by British Library © CC0 1.0 (Creative Commons Public Domain)

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