108. The voyage and arrival at Ramanaka

This relief is also divided.On the right sails the ship that carries the caravan; it is of the same build as those on No. 86 and 88 in the Rudrayanavadana, noticeable only for the flags and pennons that decorate its stem and stern and the mast. The crew here too are hard at work but the vessel is too much damaged for us to see what they are doing; the man lying on his back on the sidewing looks very queer. There is no sign of the coming shipwreck or the sea-monster that is to cause it; the vessel seems all right, there are fish and other creatures in the sea but no sort of makara in sight. To the left of the ship is a small boat in front of the stem and going in the same direction, its sails are spread and it has a crew of several men. Some are looking at the big vessel, but it is not clear what is going on. It is not likely that the big ship is being boarded by the small one considering their position, but we might think that the small boat will be run down or that it is a sloop belonging to the larger vessel, in which the passengers are saving themselves or perhaps only about to land. There may be some explanation to be found in the Pali-tradition of the Catudvara-jataka (no. 439) in which it is not a shipwreck that causes the hero of the tale to land among the nymphs, but during a calm he is pointed out as the cause of the delay, and is thrown overboard, after which he comes to land among the apsaras.l). Perhaps the strange figure on the side-wing is Maitrakanyaka, or perhaps he does not get thrown overboard but is put on land by a sloop. The latter seems most probable. However it may be, text and monument agree in so far that Maitrakanyaka is alone for the rest of the tale, cut off from his companions, shipwrecked, marooned or whatever it is.

The partition is made by a piece of ground with trees and rocks, with a pair of birds on it belonging to the scene depicted on the left. Nothing is to be seen of the city, not even the gateway where according to the tale the apsaras awaited the young merchant. Maitrakanyaka stands on the right, his right hand raised in salutation; separated from him by some bushes the four asparas stand on the left in a row, in charming attitudes, richly-dressed with flowers in their hands, interlaced and leaning against one another. They form a very pleasing group, only they turn quite to the spectator and take no notice of their guest.