The caption in the upper-left corner says: Pārśvadāna vimāna – ‘Pārśva’s gift [and] palanquin’.

The illustration contains two scenes at different levels, both featuring Pārśvanātha or Lord Pārśva.

On the upper level the largest figure is Prince Pārśva. There is a heap of jewels between him and a white-bearded old man. Three smaller figures on the top right look on.

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

The upper level shows Prince Pārśva giving away his possessions to the poor, who are symbolised by the white-bearded brahmin. The pile of jewels represents the prince’s worldly riches. The smaller figures may represent the gods who have come to awaken the prince to his future destiny as a Jina.

The lower level illustrates the start of Pārśva’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

The original paper is slightly damaged and has been repaired later with a strip of paper down the right-hand side. 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.