Along the bottom of the page are set four panels. The left-hand one shows a well-dressed man watching a dancing girl, an intricate white triangular shape near his left hand. They are under three white domes topped with golden teardrop shapes. The next panel shows a young man on a richly caparisoned elephant. The curving white and blue bands along the top indicate that this scene and the next are outside. In the third panel, a man is mounted on a prancing horse. He wears a plumed helmet and carries a spear. The final panel shows a man clad in white aiming his bow at a rearing antelope with an arrow in its neck. The lush vegetation behind them signals it is an outdoor scene.

These four panels depict the various pastimes King Māridatta enjoyed. They are also described in the text of this folio and the one before.

Māridatta was advised only by young and arrogant counsellors. He roamed around with them, not heeding the advice of wise people. Sometimes he rode a horse, piercing the earth with its hooves. Sometimes he took his dogs to go hunting. Sometimes he went with beautiful ladies. Sometimes he sang alone, without any restraint. Sometimes he took his lute to accompany dancing ladies, and so on.

The four scenes show four of the king’s enjoyments, depicted as:

  1. playing a drum, to which a lady dances. This long drum is the mṛdanga, one of the most common varieties of drums.
  2. going into the forest mounted on an elephant
  3. going riding in the forest
  4. going hunting.

Though hunting is a pastime associated with royal life, it has an ambiguous significance. It is considered to be positive because it is a kind of training for the king, and a substitute for war. But in Jainism, hunting is predominantly seen as a gross form of violence. Note that the final painting shows the movement of the antelope, which has just been pierced by an arrow. This movement expresses the suffering of the animal.

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

Other visual elements

This is a good example of an average manuscript. A red background is used for the painting but there is no use of gold, intricate design elements or elaborate script.

The bottom of the right margin contains the number 4, which is the folio number.

In the upper and lower margins there are syllables missing from the main text, or corrections. The number before them is the line number where they should be inserted.


The script used for the main text is the Jaina Devanāgarī script. It is used for writing numerous Indian languages, here Apabhraṃśa Prakrit.