The picture has two levels, each depicting different scenes.

Top level

This is a hunting scene in which a man rides a galloping horse accompanied by two attendants. The main figure, whose larger size indicates his more important status, holds a bow and shoots arrows. In front of him many different animals, mostly deer and rabbits, are trying to run away. Some of them are looking back at him with scared eyes. Behind the man on the horse are two attendants.

This is a lively scene where the viewer can feel the contrast between the determination of the hunter and the animals’ fear.

While the blue spots on the horse’s coat are rather unrealistic, some of the deer are quite precisely drawn. The black and white ones are faithful images of the Indian blackbuck.

Bottom level

On the left, a Jain monk wearing the robe of a Śvetāmbara ascetic sits on a raised seat with his hand in the gesture of teaching. In front of him is the sthāpanācārya pedestal, which symbolises teaching and the ascetic’s absent teacher. Its large size is remarkable. On its right are two men, one of whom is under an ornate canopy.

The hunter shown on the top level is King Sanjaya. He enters a park while hunting and sees a monk meditating. When he realises that he has killed animals that had fled to the ascetic and could well have killed the man himself, Sanjaya is full of remorse and asks for forgiveness. The monk remains silent so Sanjaya is scared that he will curse him. Instead, the monk teaches him the beliefs of the Jains, emphasising that power and relations are only transitory, that one should not be attached to them, and that cruelty should be given up. Convinced, Sanjaya gives up his royal power and follows a Jain monk.

This lower scene shows King Sanjaya’s conversion to Jain teachings. The man in the centre, under the canopy, is Sanjaya. The monk’s name is Gardabhāli. The second figure is probably one of the king’s attendants.

Other visual elements

The number 18 in the top left-hand margin is the chapter number.


The blank space in the centre is a symbolic reminder 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 blank is in the place where a hole would once have been.