On this page, the illustration is not full size and does not occupy the right-hand side of the page as in other cases in this manuscript. Instead, it is a small vignette in the middle margin.

A male figure in an elaborate headdress sits in the lotus posture of meditation. Below him is a large white crescent moon. A double-ended lotus stalk droops from his headdress. Mountain peaks are shown beneath him.

These mountains represent a natural landscape while the lotus flower symbolises spiritual purity. The figure is the 24th Jina Mahāvīra, who has died and reached emancipation. This state is represented by the crescent, which symbolises the siddha-śilā. This is the area at the top of the Jain universe where a liberated soul goes directly after leaving the body. There it enjoys perfect bliss and omniscience.

This is the standard way of illustrating the final emancipation. The peculiar headdress and the serene facial expression are characteristic of such scenes. The perfect happiness and power characterising a liberated soulsiddha – are considered close to that of royalty so Mahāvīra is shown adorned.

Other visual elements

In many Kalpa-sūtra manuscripts, there is a clear intention to make the manuscript a valuable and remarkable object in itself. Here this is achieved in a rather modest manner. This aim is signalled by the:

  • ornamental motif in the central margin
  • calligraphic script.

This manuscript belongs to a rather early phase of Kalpa-sūtra paper manuscripts, the beginning of the 15th century. This is evidenced by the:

  • format of the paper, which is rather narrow
  • old system of folio numbering, using ‘letter-numerals’, which is visible in the left-hand margins of verso pages.

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

This manuscript was read after it was copied and this page shows additions in smaller script, namely:

  • in line 3, the small number 55 added above the line is the translation into numbers of the Prakrit word paṇapannaṃ – ‘55’
  • at the end of line 4, the small number 36 above the line is the translation into numbers of the Prakrit word chattīsaṃ – ‘36’
  • in the margin of line 6, the number 51 stands for 151 and is the paragraph number.

In many manuscripts the paragraph numbers are part of the text, but here they have been added afterwards.

The lines in smaller script above and below the main text and in the margins are explanations in Sanskrit of phrases found in the central part. The two small parallel lines like slanted = after the words are meant to separate the explanations in the margins. The parallel lines around words in the text indicate which words are glossed. On this page they are not very numerous.