On the left a man in ornate headdress and clothing sits on a dais. He holds a knife to his own throat, blood spurting out. Three figures hasten towards him, hands flapping.

In despair after discovering his beloved wife is in love with a hunch-backed elephant-keeper, King Yaśodhara wonders what to do. He does not reveal the truth to his mother, Candramatī, but tells her that he has had a very bad dream in which he is killed. She suggests offering a sacrifice to the family deity so this dream does not come true. Yaśodhara objects to this solution, as it is contrary to Jain teaching.

He threatens to commit suicide and puts a sword to his throat. An attendant rushes to take the sword from his hand. Two ladies, one of them probably Yaśodhara’s mother, are in turmoil, as the gesture of their hands shows.

Candramatī then suggests that they sacrifice a cockerel made of flour, which is not a living being – piṭṭhamaya aceyaṇu in line 9 of the text. Since the image is not alive, sacrificing it does not involve violence. Yaśodhara finally accepts his mother’s idea.

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.