Sitting on an ornate lion-footed throne under a costly parasol and fanned by a woman behind, a richly dressed man faces a line of people. The next four figures kneel or dance, their hands raised. The woman on the far right blows a long trumpet.

After he has discovered the unfaithfulness of his wife, King Yaśodhara reflects at length on the perversity of women, the transitory character of human life and the vanity of desires. These lead to rebirth in hell and hinder a good destiny. This long monologue occupies folios 27 recto to 29 recto, which are not illustrated.

Next morning, however, he has to sit in the main hall of the palace to attend to his duties as usual. Yaśodhara must welcome those who have come to greet him and take part in the joyful atmosphere. This is the subject of the painting and of the text above.

The woman in front of the king is a doorkeeper. She is kneeling respectfully, with hands folded, and introduces the chieftains, bards and so on who are visiting the king. Behind her is a person holding a manuscript, which represents a detail explicitly mentioned in the last line of the text. This states that: ‘reading of a text was started by an expert teacher’ – guruṇiheṇa āḍhattu sattha-vāyaṇu buheṇa.

The exuberant atmosphere at court is conveyed through a musician playing the mṛdanga – the long white drum resting across his knees – a female dancer, who is dancing to the tune, and a trumpeter.

Although Yaśodhara does what is expected of him, he is preoccupied and sad. He cannot find pleasure in the things supposed to bring happiness.

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.