A richly dressed man holding a sword gestures to two men also carrying weapons. The two plainly dressed men wear small caps and carry long swords. Their dark complexions indicate they are low-caste people. The curving white and blue bands, and flowers of the background signal that the scene is set outside.

When Bhairava, the Śaiva ascetic, gave his orders, he said that pairs of all animals should be sacrificed to the Goddess Caṇḍamārī, including one pair of human beings. So far King Māridatta’s men have brought only animals, which have been sacrificed. This is not enough to satisfy the bloodthirsty goddess. King Māridatta therefore commands his chief official, Caṇḍakarma, mentioned in lines 9 to 10, to ensure the deity‘s demands are met.

Caṇḍakarma is shown on the left talking with the same two men of lower status who have captured the sacrificial animals. The last line and the line of folio 12 recto inform the reader that he is asking them to bring a pair of humans quickly – āṇehi maṇuya-juyala turantu.

The long protruding eye is a typical feature of western Indian painting. Its origin is unclear.

Other visual elements

This is a good example of an average manuscript. A red background is used for the painting but there is no use of gold, intricate design elements or elaborate script.

The bottom of the right margin contains the number 4, which is the folio number.

In the upper and lower margins there are syllables missing from the main text, or corrections. The number before them is the line number where they should be inserted.


The script used for the main text is the Jaina Devanāgarī script. It is used for writing numerous Indian languages, here Apabhraṃśa Prakrit.