The slightly damaged caption in the upper-left corner says: [Vajrasā]m[i] pālaṇai – ‘education of Vajra-svāmin’.

There are two female figures down the right side and two male figures down the left. The topmost male is a baby standing within an ornate cradle, watched by the woman sitting to the right. The male at the bottom is a Jain monk wearing the typical Śvetāmbara robe, sitting opposite the biggest figure in the panel, the richly dressed woman on the bottom right.

This illustration contains two episodes of the same story. The clue to identifying it is the mention of ‘the noble Vajra’ – ajja Vaire – in line 5 of the text alongside the picture.

The first episode is in the top level of the panel. As a baby, Vajra overhears that his father became a monk before he was born and decides to do the same as soon as he can. Vajra’s mother is seated next to his cradle, in which the baby stands.

The lower part represents a later episode. It may show either Vajra with his mother after he has become a monk or his mother in front of her former husband, who has become a monk. The story tells how Vajra’s mother wants to entrust the young boy to her former husband in his monastic group. This is because the child misbehaves since he does not want to live as an ordinary child.

Other visual elements

The bottom of the right margin contains the number 114. 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.