This rectangular wooden cover may date back to the 19th century. A floral border painted on all four sides functions as a frame. There are 14 finely painted pictures in individual compartments.

Moving from left to right, the images are as follows:

  • top row – elephant, bull, lion, garland, moon
  • middle row – sun, banner, Śrī, full pot, lotus pond
  • bottom row – ocean, celestial cart, heap of jewels, blazing fire.

These are the14 dreams which the mother of a future Jina sees. They announce his great destiny.

As is often the case, the goddess Śrī is larger than the symbols of the other dreams and is therefore more prominent visually. Giving Śrī the leading position visually often means the traditional sequence of dreams is rearranged. This is the case here, where it is not clear from the paintings that Śrī appears in the fourth dream.

In artefacts of a relatively late period, the ocean is often symbolised by a vessel or ship, as with this manuscript cover. This often shows the influence of European art. Similarly, the artists also often exercise creativity when depicting the ‘palace’ – here, next to the ship – and its architectural features.

Together with the eight auspicious symbols, the 14 dreams have proven one of the favourite themes on manuscript covers – called pāṭhuṃ in Gujarati – since the 18th century.

They indicate the importance of the concept of dreams in the Jain tradition, especially in the context of the lives of the Jinas.