The caption in the upper-right corner says: Nemidāna vimāna – ‘Nemi’s gift [and] palanquin’.

The illustration contains two scenes at different levels, both featuring Neminātha or Lord Nemi, the 22nd Jina.

On the upper level the largest figure is Prince Nemi. There is a heap of jewels between him and the two white-bearded old men on the right.

On the bottom level Nemi is seated on a palanquin carried by four bearers. Either side of the palanquin are servants with fly-whisks.

The upper level shows Nemi giving away his possessions to the poor, who are symbolised by the white-bearded brahmins. The pile of jewels represents the prince’s worldly riches.

The lower level illustrates the start of Nemi’s public renunciation of the world in favour of the ascetic life. The bearers will take him from the royal palace to the park and the foot of the tree where he will renounce the world and enter monkhood.

Other visual elements

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.