The caption in the top left corner is damaged because the paper is torn. It should say: [svapnapā]ṭhaka – ‘dream-interpreters’.

There are two scenes on different levels on this page.

At the upper level are two white-bearded men facing each other. They each brandish an object in one hand that could be a manuscript. One of them signals to the ground and seems to hold a writing instrument.

They are dream interpreters who have been summoned to the palace by King Siddhārtha. He wants them to decode the 14 dreams his wife experienced during the night Mahāvīra’s embryo was transferred to her womb.

At the lower level, the man on the left is again a dream interpreter, holding a manuscript and carrying a writing instrument. The man facing him is likely to be one of his colleagues, for he also has a manuscript in his hand. However, his beard and hair are not white like those of the three other men.

Dream interpreters are usually depicted, like here, as elderly brahmins, with beard and knotted hair, the upper part of their bodies uncovered.

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

Other visual elements

The bottom of the right margin contains the number 30. This is the folio number.

The original paper has been pasted onto a new base. 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:

  • use of gold in the paintings, margins and ornamental motifs
  • decorated border with blue floral motifs
  • three diamonds filled with gold ink and surrounded by blue ornamental motifs.

The three golden diamonds along the central horizontal plane are symbolic reminders of the way in which manuscripts were bound at one time. Strings through one or more holes in the paper were used to thread together the loose folios so the reader could turn them over easily. The shapes are in the places where the holes would once have been.

Three diamonds mean a verso side.


The elaborate script used is the Jaina Devanāgarī script, which is here like calligraphy. It is used for writing numerous Indian languages, here for Ardhamāgadhī 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
  • contains red vertical lines that mark out verse divisions, with a single line dividing a verse in two while double lines are found at the end of the verse.

There are paragraph numbers in the text, namely the:

  • number 70 at the end of line 1
  • number 71 in the middle of line 4.

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.