There are two pictures depicting two related episodes of the story. The left-hand painting shows small figures standing in front of a larger figure sitting on a throne in an ornate palace. The picture on the right shows bearded men holding manuscripts and writing implements. 

The morning after she has had her 14 dreams, Queen Triśalā tells them to her husband, King Siddhārtha. He realises they are significant and sends his family servants to call ‘the interpreters of dreams who well know the science of prognostics with its eight branches, and are well versed in many sciences’ to the palace. This episode is shown in the illustration on the left. 

The astrologers consult their specialised treatises and predict that the baby Triśalā is carrying will be either a universal monarch or an Arhat – a perfect being. They are shown here in discussion on the right-hand picture, bearing the tools of their trade. The baby grows up to be Mahāvīra, the 24th Jina.

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

Other visual element 

This is a good example of an average Kalpa-sūtra manuscript. The paintings have a red background, but there are no other signs of an aesthetic object of special value.

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


The elaborate script used for the main text is the Jaina Devanāgarī script, in a form which recalls calligraphy. It is used for writing numerous Indian languages, here for Prakrit.

There are a few notable features of this script:

  • it is an old type in the way the sounds e and o are notated when used with a consonant, known as pṛṣṭhamātrā script 
  • the red vertical lines within the text divide the long sentences into smaller parts, but are not necessarily punctuation marks.

In this particular manuscript there are occasional rings above the main line of writing. These notate the nasalised vowels and are used instead of simple dots. There is an example above the first line.