The partly damaged caption in the upper left corner says: ṣīlā kāḍhyā – ‘they extracted the spikes’.

Two people remove the spikes from Mahāvīra‘s ears, watched by two people sitting below. Above, god-like figures dance in the sky.

Despite the spikes in his ears, Mahāvīra has continued his wandering life. He reaches the house of a merchant, who has a doctor friend. Realising the pain the ascetic suffers, they decide to help him. Masseurs rub his ears with oil while the spikes are pulled out.

This painting shows an atmosphere of joy and respect, with the god-like figures dancing in the sky and two people sitting with folded hands. The seated men may be the merchant and the doctor.

Other visual elements

The bottom of the right margin contains the number 63. This is the folio number, in a square with two blue lines as an ornamental motif.

The original paper is slightly damaged but has been patched. 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.