The partly damaged caption in the upper-left corner says: saṃkha pūriu – ‘he blew the conch’.

A young man lifts a conch up from its throne within a richly ornamented palace.

The conch belongs to Kṛṣṇa, cousin of Neminātha or Lord Nemi, who becomes the 22nd Jina. Both are princes and Kṛṣṇa considers his cousin a potential rival.

The conch is shown very large to indicate that it is extremely heavy and could not be lifted by an ordinary person. However, Nemi raises it and sounds the conch so powerfully that it shakes all the worlds. After this the conch becomes the symbol associated with him.

This episode and the one depicted in the following picture are not found in the Kalpa-sūtra itself but in stories of Nemi’s life. They are meant to emphasise his power as a young prince.

Other visual elements

The bottom of the right margin contains the number 81. This is the folio number, in a square with two blue lines as an ornamental motif.

The original paper is slightly damaged. But, as with many Kalpa-sūtra manuscripts, there is a clear intention to make the manuscript a valuable and remarkable object in itself. This aim is signalled by the:

  • coloured background for the text
  • gold ink instead of the standard black ink
  • decorated border with blue floral motifs
  • three diamonds filled with gold ink, with arrow-like blue lines and surrounding blue border as ornamental motifs.

The three diamonds along the central horizontal plane are symbolic reminders of the way in which manuscripts were bound when they were on palm leaf. Strings through holes in the paper were used to thread together the loose folios so the reader could turn them over easily. The diamonds are in the places where the holes would once have been.