The caption in the top right corner reads: Ṛṣabhaprati[] – ‘image of Ṛṣabha’.

A lady lying on a bed is being fanned by a servant, who stands on the right side. Above her are two rows of animals, figures and objects.

The richly jewelled lady is Queen Mārudevī, mother of the first Jina, Ṛṣabhanātha or Lord Ṛṣabha. This identification is only possible thanks to the facing text, which relates to Ṛṣabha and mentions his name and those of his parents. The scene in itself has no individual characteristics and is identical to the birth scene for all Jinas, for example the birth of the 22nd Jina Nemi and the birth of the 24th Jina Mahāvīra.

The queen is full of joy about her new pregnancy. Like the mother of all Jinas, she has 14 dreams that announce the greatness of the future baby, who will become Ṛṣabha. The symbols of these dreams are depicted in the levels above Mārudevī.

Starting from the top left and moving left to right, the sequence of the dreams is divided into two levels. On the top row the dreams are depicted as:

On the second row the dreams are represented by:

Below, between the queen and her attendant, are two circles representing:

  • the sun
  • the moon.

These two are shown smaller because the painter is using the space practically, but all dreams have the same importance. The order of the 14 auspicious dreams is always the same in the text of the Kalpa-sūtra, but the manuscript painters can choose how to use the space at their disposal.

Other visual elements

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:

  • shape and style of the script, which is close to calligraphy
  • use of gold ink in the paintings
  • division of the text into two equally-sized panels, separated by a 2-centimetre margin containing a red circle.

The three red circles along the central horizontal plane are symbolic reminders of the way in which palm-leaf manuscripts were bound at one time. Strings through these holes in the palm leaf were used to thread together the loose folios so the reader could turn them over easily. The circles are in the place where the hole would once have been. Three circles mean a verso side.

The folio number, which should have been visible in the lower right corner of this verso side, is not visible as the edges are damaged.


The elaborate script used is the Jaina Devanāgarī, which is like calligraphy. It is used for writing numerous Indian languages, here for Prakrit.

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

  • is an old type in the way the sounds e and o are notated when used with a consonant, known as pṛṣṭhamātrā script
  • uses red ink for various purposes.

Red is used to highlight stanza breaks and certain symbols and phrases, specifically:

  • the vertical lines within the text marking verse divisions, with single red vertical lines indicating where a verse is divided in two while double red vertical lines are found at the end of the verse
  • for the symbol cha, seen in the middle of line 3 and in the last line, which signals the end of a section or paragraph
  • for the phrase on line 5 taṃ jahā – ‘to wit’ – which introduces a list.