The partly damaged caption in the upper-right corner says: Nemijñāna – ‘Nemi’s omniscience’.

The biggest figure is Neminātha or Lord Nemi, sitting in the lotus position in the centre of a gold square, made of three concentric walls. A female dancer is in the south or bottom of the square. Above Nemi‘s head is a triple parasol, which shows his kingly status. In the corners of the illustrated panel are pairs of animals around stepped shapes, which may represent water ponds or tanks.

This picture shows that Nemi has reached omniscience following 57 and a half days of suffering extreme physical trials.

The abstract concept of achieving omniscience is usually represented by illustrations of the samavasaraṇa. This word, which means ‘universal gathering’, refers both to an architectural structure and to the meeting itself. The square shape seen here is less common than the circle. Here, the structure is three walls thick. There are entrances in each of the four cardinal directions. The Jina sits at the centre, where his speech can be heard in all directions by all beings who carefully and respectfully listen to him. He can deliver his teaching only after reaching omniscience. This is why this notion is represented by the samavasaraṇa.

In depictions of the universal gathering, it is common to show animals that are normally enemies peacefully listening in pairs to the Jina‘s teaching. Here, the snake and the peacock in the upper-right corner demonstrate this atmosphere of peace.

The dancing lady expresses the joyful atmosphere of the event.

Other visual elements

The bottom of the right margin contains the number 87. This is the folio number, in a square with two blue lines as an ornamental motif.

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
  • three diamonds filled with gold ink, with arrow-like blue lines and surrounding blue border as ornamental motifs.

The three diamonds along the central horizontal plane are symbolic reminders 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 diamonds are in the places where the holes would once have been.

Note how the paper is quite badly watermarked and the painting is heavily smudged and marked, so that the illustration and the text are hard to see.