The caption in the upper left is slightly damaged, but it says: u[or a]pahara[na] – ‘kidnapping’.

The illustration contains two scenes at different levels.

On the top level the man on horseback is King Gardabhilla. The blue colour of the horse is not realistic, though its form, trappings and expression are. The horse is preceded by a dog. The movement of the animals shows eagerness and haste. The king is approaching the figure on the left. This is the nun Sarasvatī, whom they are about to kidnap.

On the bottom level the mounted figure on the left is King Gardabhilla. The man on the right is one of the king’s soldiers. He is carrying Sarasvatī on his shoulders. The scene is full of movement. The nun is wearing typical Śvetāmbara monastic robes. The robes of nuns are slightly different from monks’ robes in that they continue behind the neck up the back of the head. This is a distinctive characteristic of their sex in pictures. Here Sarasvatī’s face looks feminine, but this is not always the case and it may not be that easy in Jain art to differentiate monks from nuns using only their faces.

This painting illustrates an episode in the life of Kālaka. During his mendicant wanderings, the monk Kālaka preaches to a crowd outside the city of Ujjayinī. The nuns join the crowd and among them is Sarasvatī, who is Kālaka’s sister.

Captivated by Sarasvatī’s beauty, King Gardabhilla of Ujjayinī grabs her and has her carried away to his harem. Sarasvatī calls out to Kālaka for help. The text alongside the illustration contains her desperate call for help.

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

Other visual elements

There are several notable things about this page, which is not in perfect condition as the edges are slightly torn.

The Kālaka story is often an appendix to Kalpa-sūtra manuscripts. In many Kalpa-sūtra manuscripts, there is a clear intention to make the manuscript a valuable and remarkable object in itself. This often holds true for the manuscripts of the Kālaka story as well. Here this aim is signalled by the:

  • shape and style of the script, which is close to calligraphy
  • use of gold ink for the red-edged border lines and ornamental diamond shapes
  • division of the text into two equally-sized panels, separated by a 2-centimetre margin containing a golden diamond
  • blue ornamental motifs around the three diamonds, in the centre and at the two sides.

There are three ornamental diamonds because this is the verso side of a folio.

This version of the Kālaka story is told in poetry. Verse numbers are at the end of each stanza. They are often in red, like here. On this page are the following numbers:

  • 10 on line 1
  • 11 on line 5.

This means that this page contains the end part of verse 10, all of of verse 11 and part of verse 12.

The bottom of the right margin contains the number 187, which is the folio number. It is a high number because this manuscript is the continuation of a Kalpa-sūtra manuscript. However, the rest of the manuscript is not available.


The elaborate script used is the Jaina Devanāgarī script, which is here like calligraphy. There are a few notable features of this script.

Firstly, it is an old type in the way the sounds e and o are notated when used with a consonant, known as pṛṣṭhamātrā script.

There are red vertical lines within the text marking out verse divisions. Single red vertical lines indicate where a verse is divided in two, while double red vertical lines are found at the end of the verse.