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A large male figure takes the lotus posture of meditation in a garden pavilion. Sitting on a lotus flower, he wears the white robe of the Śvetāmbara monk and holds the monastic broomrajoharaṇa – under his right arm. His right hand makes the ritual gesture of exposition, used when explaining to listeners.

This is the standard representation of Indrabhūti Gautama, who is the first disciple and first gaṇadhara of the 24th Jina Mahāvīra. He is traditionally shown sitting on a lotus seat.

Indrabhūti Gautama gained omniscience on the same night Mahāvīra died, a detail given in the text alongside the picture.

Other visual elements

The original paper is slightly damaged but has been mended with a strip of paper along the right-hand side.

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
  • diamond filled with gold ink, with ornamental blue border.

The diamond in the centre is a symbolic reminder 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 diamond is in one of the places where the holes would once have been.