A large blue figure sits on a throne in a multi-domed temple structure, two flags flying from two of the domes. Sitting in the lotus posture of meditation, he wears an intricate headdress and jewellery. There are lamps on his left and right sides while above him are small bells. Above his head is a kind of double-ended lotus stalk, which is an ornament and probable symbol of purity.

He is flanked by two male figures on the left and one female figure on the right, all with hands folded in a gesture of homage and respect. They stand below bells.

Below, a man squats to grind something while on either side of him a woman climbs steps.

Thus this lively painting features two scenes in one, namely the:

  • interior of a temple
  • landscape surrounding the temple, depicted through the sky and trees.

Inside the main cella of the temple is the 22nd Jina, Ariṣṭanemi or Neminātha. Lord Nemi is enthroned in a temple and being worshipped. This Jina is clearly identified through his body’s typical blue colour.

The figures on the Jina’s left and right sides are lay devotees worshipping him. It is the custom in India that men gather on one side of the temple and women on the other.

The lady carries the cotton broomrajoharaṇa. Lay devotees among the Śvetāmbaras use it either to lightly brush the floor before sitting, or, like here, to delicately clean the Jina image. The men carry pieces of cloth. The small bells above them are used in ceremonies of worship, when devotees strike them with their hands.

Outside, two ladies are going up the steps leading to the sanctuary, to join other devotees.

Beneath them the man with a bare torso and a plait is a temple servantpujārī – who is usually a Jain Brahmin. His job is to prepare ingredients for worship and to clean the temple and images. Here he is shown grinding something, probably sandalwood powder, as an ingredient of worship. The small jug and cup in front of him are meant for water or milk. Such implements are used in worship ritualspūjā – to sprinkle liquids on the statue of the Jina. These preparations take place in the courtyard outside the temple.

The painter does not use perspective, but does represent the journey through the landscape to the temple and then inside. The temple court, where the temple servant is working, is presented first, followed by the interior of the temple.

Other visual elements

This is a full-page painting. The elaborate floral border of the picture underscores the decorative nature of the image.