The caption in the top-left corner has been written twice. It says gaṇa 11 and gaṇadha 11 – ‘the 11 chief disciples’.

Eleven white-clad monks sit in the lotus position of meditation, one of them shown as a larger size. They are holding their right hands in the gesture of exposition. Judging from this gesture, they are preaching the message of the Jinas to their listeners.

The text beside the illustration is the Sthavirāvalī section of the Kalpa-sūtra and gives the beginning of the list of the names of Mahāvīra’s chief disciples – gaṇadharas. There are 11 chief disciples. The one in the centre is Indrabhūti Gautama, the leader of Mahāvīra’s disciples. He gained omniscience on the night the Jina was liberated.

These monks appear in the standard representation in Jain art, seated in meditation posture. They wear the white robe of the Śvetāmbara monks and hold the cotton broomrajoharaṇa – under their right arms.

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

Other visual elements

The bottom of the right margin contains the number 70. This is the folio number.

The original paper has been pasted onto a new base. 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:

  • use of gold in the paintings, margins and ornamental motifs
  • decorated border with blue floral motifs
  • three diamonds filled with gold ink and surrounded by blue ornamental motifs.

The three golden diamonds along the central horizontal plane are symbolic reminders of the way in which manuscripts were bound at one time. Strings through one or more holes in the paper were used to thread together the loose folios so the reader could turn them over easily. The shapes are in the places where the holes would once have been.

Three diamonds mean a verso side.


The elaborate script used is the Jaina Devanāgarī script, which is here like calligraphy. It is used for writing numerous Indian languages, here for Ardhamāgadhī 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
  • contains red vertical lines that mark out verse divisions, with a single line dividing a verse in two while double lines are found at the end of the verse.

The lines in smaller script above and below the main text and in the margins are explanations in Sanskrit of phrases found in the central part. The two small parallel lines like slanted = after the words are meant to separate the explanations.