The main part of the diagram consists of concentric circles in alternating grey and white around a central circle. In the centre of the diagram is Mount Meru, shown as a yellow disc, the heart of the Two and A Half Continents. On Mount Meru sits a Jina on a throne but this is now hardly visible.

Mount Meru is in the middle of the circular continent of Jambū-dvīpa, shown with a pale background. Around Jambū-dvīpa is the ocean of Lavaṇa-samudra, shown as a grey circle.

Around Lavaṇa-samudra is the continent of Dhātakīkhaṇḍa. Around that is the ocean of Kālodadhi, again a grey circle.

Around Kālodadhi is another circle of land. This is half of the Puṣkara continent.

Together, these continents and oceans form Aḍhāī-dvīpa or ‘Two and A Half Continents’. Thus the painting is a map of the cosmological concept of Two and A Half Continents. The Two and A Half Continents is in the centre of the middle worldmadhya-loka. There are three worlds in the Jain conception of the universe. The Two and A Half Continents is the only part of the Jain universe where human beings can be born so it is also known as ‘the world of humans’ – manuṣya-loka.

At the perimeter of Puṣkara-dvīpa is a slim yellow band. Outside this runs a repeated triangular pattern in blue. The yellow band is the outer mountain range beyond which no human beings live. In this diagram the blue pattern is a ring of mountain ranges with trees in between.

This painting is unusual in that the waters of the two oceans and the rivers are rarely shown in grey, as they are here. Figures representing inhabitants of the continents and important sites are mapped in fine detail and often given long descriptions. The painter’s creativity is also plain in the depiction of the animals in the second ocean, the Kālodadhi. There are fish and other aquatic animals, but also other kinds of creatures, some of which are more fantastic than real and look like prehistoric animals.

Other visual elements

As is usual, there is a Jain temple at each of the four corners of the painting. There is an image of a Jina in the centre, who is being worshipped by a devotee waving a fly-whisk on each side.

Each Jain temple is flanked by pairs of animals, which is not common in maps of the Two and A Half Continents. The reasons for choosing these animals are not known, but some of them are emblems associated with a specific Jina:

Note the semi-fantastic creature in the upper left corner.

The floral border around the edge of the painting is a fine ornamentation.

Text portions and chart

On either side of each temple in the corners of the cloth are small paragraphs of writing. These give more detail about Jambū-dvīpa and the other parts of the Two and A Half Continents. The script is written as if the reader is at the edge of the material, looking into its centre. This means the reader must move around the border of the fabric to read it, because staying in one place would mean reading some of the script upside down or at right angles.

Top-left corner

Looking from the bottom of this image, on the right side of the temple in the top-left corner is a chart. It contains the dimensions of the mountain ranges which divide Jambū-dvīpa into regions. Going from south to north, they are:

  1. Vaitāḍhya
  2. Himavanta
  3. Mahāhimavanta
  4. Niṣadha
  5. Nīla
  6. Rūpi
  7. Śikharī
  8. Vaitāḍhya.

To the left of this chart is information in Sanskrit about the cities.

Bottom-left corner

The script where the bull is located is written in Sanskrit and gives the dimensions of the second continent, the Dhātakīkhaṇḍa.

Top-right corner

Again, the script on the side where the bull is located is in Sanskrit. Here it gives topographical details of Mount Meru, the forests on its terraces and so on. Then there is information about the ‘followers’ or tributaries of the main rivers – nadī-parivāra.

The script on the left side of the temple, where the horse is, is in Sanskrit too. It describes the trees and mountains on the Uttara-kuru and the Deva-kuru, and the temples there and in the Mahā-videha regions.