A large peacock perches on a woman lying on an ornate couch, its beak touching her face. The richly dressed woman raises her hand, pressing it against the bird’s breast. Lying next to her is a blue-skinned male figure, with staring eyes and animal-like teeth. At the foot of the bed a peacock turns away from the couple. The domes and towers at the top of the panel indicate that the scene is set indoors.

This picture shows a peacock attacking Queen Amṛtamati while she lies with her lover, the hunchbacked elephant-keeper.

The peacock is the first rebirth of King Yaśodhara, murdered by his faithless wife, Amṛtamati. In the palace of King Yaśomati – his son – the peacock leads a happy life, roaming around freely. Once it goes to the top of the palace, where it discovers a scene that reminds it of a bad memory from its earlier life as Yaśodhara. On the terrace of the palace, the peacock finds Amṛtamati enjoying amorous pleasures with her paramour. He is shown as a repulsive man, with dark complexion and protruding teeth.

King Yaśodhara had stopped himself from committing violence when he first discovered the lovers, despite his rage and hurt. However, as a peacock, he cannot control himself. Full of anger, the bird attacks the lady, striking her with its nails and beak.

The peacock is shown a second time at the foot of the bed. Here it is going out of the room, after one of its legs has been injured by the angry couple.

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.