The partly damaged caption in the upper-right corner says: gaṇadhara 6 – ‘six disciples’.

Six white-clad monks sit in the lotus position of meditation, holding their right hands in the gesture of exposition or explanation.

Judging from this gesture, they are preaching the message of the Jinas to their listeners.

The text beside the illustration is the start of the Sthavirāvalī section of the Kalpa-sūtra and gives the beginning of the list of the names of Mahāvīra‘s chief disciples – gaṇadharas. There are 11 chief disciples and in this manuscript they are distributed over two paintings, with six portrayed here.

These monks appear in the standard representation, seated in meditation posture in a garden pavilion. They wear the white robe of the Śvetāmbara monks and hold the broomrajoharaṇa – under their right arms.

Other visual elements

The bottom of the right margin contains the number 103. 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.