On the left is a blue-skinned, four-armed woman apparently balanced on a lion. In her hands she holds a trident, an axe, a bowl and a skull. Facing her is a man raising a sword high over his head. Between them is a white cockerel with its head chopped off, blood flowing from its neck.

The blue-skinned figure is a goddess, her grotesque face and the implements she holds underlining the bloodthirstiness and violence associated with her.

King Yaśodhara stands in front of her, in a respectful attitude, with hands folded. He has just beheaded the cockerel made of flour, which had been created to avoid sacrificing a living creature.

Yaśodhara and his mother have taken the flour cock to the temple of the goddess in a joyful atmosphere, with auspicious songs and music. There Yaśodhara praises the goddess and kills the bird. Although it is made of flour, it seems as if blood flows from its body. Yaśodhara’s mother also praises the goddess, asking her to remove all obstacles. After the sacrifice, the devotees eat the remains of the cockerel.

Even though the bird is flour, it looks as if it were made of flesh. The idea is to underline that what Yaśodhara and his mother have done is indeed violence – hiṃsā. Even though the cockerel was never alive, the pair wanted to kill and acted as if they had. They have thus committed intentional violence, which goes against a key Jain principle.

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

Other visual elements

This is a good example of an average manuscript. A red background is used for the painting but there is no use of gold, intricate design elements or elaborate script.

The bottom of the right margin contains the number 4, which is the folio number.

In the upper and lower margins there are syllables missing from the main text, or corrections. The number before them is the line number where they should be inserted.


The script used for the main text is the Jaina Devanāgarī script. It is used for writing numerous Indian languages, here Apabhraṃśa Prakrit.