The caption in the top-right corner says: Kamaṭhapaṃcāgni – ‘Kamaṭha’s five fires’.

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

On the upper level a man sits in the lotus posture of meditation with four fires on each side of the body and the sun beating down from overhead, here represented as a semicircle on the top left. He is dressed in a lower garment and a large scarf, the ends of which are floating at his sides. Although his garment has white dots similar to the depiction of the robes of Śvetāmbara monks, it is not the same.

On the bottom level Prince Pārśva is shown on the back of a royal elephant, a symbol of aristocratic status. The other man is a servant who has split the log on the left, from which a snake is now coming out.

To Jains the brahmin ascetic Kamaṭha was a wicked person. He was a heretic who engaged in the penance of five fires, in which four fires surround the body, with the fire of the sun overhead.

Through his superior knowledge, Prince Pārśva realises that one of the fires contains a log in which a family of snakes is trapped. He asks a servant to split the log so the snakes can escape the fire.

For this reason, Pārśva is conventionally shown with a hood of snakes in pictures and the snake is his emblem.

Other visual elements

The bottom of the right margin contains the number 75. This is the folio number, in a square with two blue lines as an ornamental motif.

The original paper is slightly damaged. But, 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.