There are two panels showing separate scenes on this page. In the left-hand panel a richly decorated woman sits on a flower seat. The standing woman holds a fly-whisk. The intricate patterns on three sides of the panel indicate it is an indoor scene.

The second, bigger, panel depicts a man sitting on a lion-footed throne under a green parasol, both symbols that represent royalty. Before him is a crowned man with flowing garments, who is raising his hands in front of him. To the right of this man an identically dressed figure lies on the ground. They all face a blue-clad figure on the right, who wears a strange hat and garment and raises a dark stick.

The lady represented on a flower seat on the left is difficult to identify. It does not seem likely that she is the Goddess Caṇḍamāri, who should have a terrifying appearance and is depicted differently on subsequent folios.

The second scene pictures the meeting of King Māridatta with the Śaiva ascetic Bhairava. Māridatta has learned that this Śaiva ascetic could bestow magical powers on his devotees, such as the ability to fly. The literary descriptions of the ascetic and of this news are on the missing folio, number 6.

When Bhairava, the supreme ascetic – parama-joi – hears that Māridatta is keen to meet him, he hastens to the royal palace. When the king sees him arrive, he greets him enthusiastically. This enthusiasm is symbolised here by the three successive depictions of the king, who:

  • is first seated on his lion-footed throne
  • then gets up with folded hands, signifying respect
  • finally lies down on the ground, making himself as horizontal as a stick – daṃḍu vva kiyau paṇavāu – which expresses the highest respect.

In this way the painter represents the extreme devotion of the king to an heretical faith.

The ascetic, shown on the right, is always represented as he is in this manuscript. The missing folio in this manuscript details his identifying characteristics, which are also described in the text as:

  • a kind of cap that covers his ears
  • a long staff
  • the distinctive robe he wears.

Satisfied by the king’s hurry to honour him, Bhairava extends his blessings to him.

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.