The Jain Cosmography (Sangrahanisutra)
Six leshyas (colors of the soul) liken human karma to the treatment of a tree; the worst is cutting it down (lower left) and the best is picking up its naturally fallen fruit (lower right)

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Gujarat, India, Asia
or Rajasthan, India, Asia


Opaque watercolor and ink on paper

Sheet: 10 1/4 × 4 3/8 inches (26 × 11.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

* Gallery 231, Asian Art, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Francis T. S. Darley Fund, 1935

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The six leshyas are the colors, or tints, cast like shadows upon individual souls by good and bad deeds (karma). The idea is given visible form in this image by the depiction of six men gathering fruit from a tree. The left side is the side of evil, or of the three somber colors, with the man on the ground steeped in darkest hate, cutting down the whole tree to get the fruit. The right side, showing good, has bright colors, with the lowermost figure only picking the fruit that has fallen to the ground-- it is he who exhibits the Jain ideal of "purity, compassion, and a life involving no loss or pain to others."

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