In the upper corner of the left margin there is a damaged caption reading: …timā 6 // 37. This could stand for [Jinapra]timā – ‘Jina images’.

Four identical figures are seated in two rows in temple structures, all in the posture of meditation. They are eight Jinas.

They cannot be identified individually. This kind of depiction is a way of dealing with the 20 intermediate Jinas whose lives are not told at length in the Kalpa-sūtra. The lives of the Jinas from number 21 to 2 are summarised with little difference in the stories. The usual way to show them is to represent them, like here, as identical figures. Here only a selection of eight Jinas is shown. In other manuscripts, all 20 are depicted, either in one picture, or, more often, in two pictures each containing ten figures.

Other visual elements

As with many Kalpa-sūtra manuscripts, there is a clear intention to make the manuscript a valuable and remarkable object in itself. Here this aim is signalled by the:

  • shape and style of the script, which is close to calligraphy
  • use of gold ink in the paintings
  • division of the page into two equally-sized panels, separated by a 2-centimetre margin containing a red circle.

The red circle in the centre along the central horizontal plane is a symbolic reminder of the way in which palm-leaf manuscripts were bound at one time. Strings through this hole in the palm leaf were used to thread together the loose folios so the reader could turn them over easily. The circle is in the place where the hole would once have been. One circle generally means a recto side, and three circles a verso side.

In the left margin the number ‘6’ is clear and should indicate the number of figures in the painting yet does not match what is actually shown. Such discrepancies are common in Jain manuscripts because the captions are directions for the painter, who in some cases did not follow them.

The number ‘37’ indicates the number of the picture within this manuscript. However, only one page of the original manuscript is available.


The elaborate script used is the Jaina Devanāgarī script. It is used for writing numerous Indian languages, here for Prakrit. There are a few notable features of this script, which:

  • is an old type in the way the sounds e and o are notated when used with a consonant, known as pṛṣṭhamātrā script
  • uses red ink for certain purposes.

Red is used to highlight stanza breaks and certain symbols and phrases, specifically:

  • the vertical lines within the text marking verse divisions, with single red vertical lines indicating where a verse is divided in two while double red vertical lines are found at the end of the verse
  • for the symbol cha, seen in the middle of line 3 and in the last line, which signals the end of a section or paragraph
  • for the phrase on line 5 taṃ jahā – ‘to wit’ – which introduces a list.