The caption in the top-right corner says: kālikumāra vana māhi – ‘Prince Kāli [= Kālaka] in the forest’.

The illustration contains two scenes at different levels, both featuring Kālaka.

On the upper level the elegantly dressed figure on the right is Prince Kālaka. One of his hands makes a gesture of respect and readiness to listen. The figure on the left is a Jain monk wearing the typical Śvetāmbara monastic robe. He is sitting on a slightly raised seat and holds the cotton broom under his arm. In one of his hands he holds the mouth-cloth (Muhpattī), which he has taken off to talk. In between them is the sthāpanācārya, a kind of tripod that symbolises the Jain teaching and is often used in pictures as a substitute for the teacher.

Below is a river, which means that the scene takes place in a natural landscape. The tree and the flowers on the bottom level also point to this.

On the bottom level the figure on the left is again Prince Kālaka. His costume is different from that in the top scene, which is a common artistic habit in these scenes. He is leading his horse, which is shown on the right side. He is engaged in training the richly caparisoned horse. Both figures are full of movement. The colour of the horse is not realistic though its form, trappings and expression are.

This painting first depicts Prince Kālaka in his everyday life, at the bottom. It then shows the prince listening to a Jain ascetic, the first step towards his renunciation of the householder life.

The long protruding eye is a typical feature of western Indian painting. Its origin is unclear.

Other visual elements

The number 113 at the bottom of the right-hand margin is the folio number. It is a high number because this manuscript is the continuation of the Kalpa-sūtra manuscript Or. 13959.

The three red circles along the central horizontal plane are symbolic reminders of the way in which manuscripts were bound when they were on palm leaf. Here the central one is in a square blank shape. Strings through one or more holes were used to thread together the loose folios so the reader could turn them over easily. The circles are in the places where the holes would once have been.

These red circles are ornamented with diamonds and floral motifs. The margins are also decorated with blue patterns. This is common in manuscripts of the Kalpa-sūtra and the Kālaka story, which are objects used in ritual during the Paryuṣaṇ festival.


The elaborate script is the Jaina Devanāgarī script, in a form which recalls calligraphy. It is used for writing many Indian languages, here for Sanskrit.

There are a few notable features of this script, namely:

  • it is an old type in the way the sounds e and o are notated when used with a consonant, known as pṛṣṭhamātrā script
  • the red vertical lines within the text, which, though they are used to divide the long sentences into smaller parts, are not necessarily punctuation marks.

Here, each pair of red lines surrounds the stanza number, which is at the end of each stanza. In red ink, the stanza numbers on this page are:

  • 5 at the beginning of line 3
  • 6 in the middle of line 6
  • 7 at the end of line 8.