This rectangular wooden cover may date back to the 19th century. A floral border painted on all four sides functions as a frame. There are 14 finely painted pictures in individual compartments.
Moving from left to right, the images are as follows:
As is often the case, the goddess Śrī is larger than the symbols of the other dreams and is therefore more prominent visually. Giving Śrī the leading position visually often means the traditional sequence of dreams is rearranged. This is the case here, where it is not clear from the paintings that Śrī appears in the fourth dream.
In artefacts of a relatively late period, the ocean is often symbolised by a vessel or ship, as with this manuscript cover. This often shows the influence of European art. Similarly, the artists also often exercise creativity when depicting the ‘palace’ – here, next to the ship – and its architectural features.
A book is bound, which means it has a spine into which the pages are glued or stitched so a reader can easily turn over the pages. A traditional manuscript is made up of loose sheets of paper. Earlier manuscripts were created from palm leaves or similar material. The sheets were tied together using strings passed through holes in each sheet or folio so the reader could turn them over easily.
A manuscript is unbound but sometimes has a manuscript cover to protect it. This has two parts, one at the beginning, the other at the end. Manuscript covers are made of paper, cloth, cardboard or wood. They can be decorated and painted.
British Library. Or. 13457. Bhāskarācārya. 1640
Victoria and Albert Museum. IS. 20-1978. Unknown artist. 19th century
Wellcome Trust Library. Gamma 3. Unknown author. 1503
British Library. Or. 13959. Unknown author. 1639
Bodleian Library. Prakrit d. 4. Unknown author. 1589
Gamma 453. Wellcome Trust Library. Unknown author. 1512