Indian Epigraphy: A Guide to the Study of Inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and the Other Indo-Aryan Languages / Edition 1

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Overview

This book provides a general survey of all the inscriptional material in the Sanskrit, Prakrit, and modern Indo-Aryan languages, including donative, dedicatory, panegyric, ritual, and literary texts carved on stone, metal, and other materials. This material comprises many thousands of documents dating from a range of more than two millennia, found in India and the neighboring nations of South Asia, as well as in many parts of Southeast, central, and East Asia. The inscriptions are written, for the most part, in the Brahmi and Kharosthi scripts and their many varieties and derivatives.

Inscriptional materials are of particular importance for the study of the Indian world, constituting the most detailed and accurate historical and chronological data for nearly all aspects of traditional Indian culture in ancient and medieval times. Richard Salomon surveys the entire corpus of Indo-Aryan inscriptions in terms of their contents, languages, scripts, and historical and cultural significance. He presents this material in such a way as to make it useful not only to Indologists but also non-specialists, including persons working in other aspects of Indian or South Asian studies, as well as scholars of epigraphy and ancient history and culture in other regions of the world.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195099843
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/28/1998
  • Series: South Asia Research Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

Abbreviations xvii
Note on Citation and Bibliographic Form xxi
1 The Scope and Significance of Epigraphy in Indological Studies 3
2 Writing and Scripts in India 7
2.1 General Introduction 7
2.1.1 Writing in traditional India 7
2.1.2 The antiquity of writing in India of the historical period 10
2.1.3 Characteristics of Indic writing 14
2.2 The Brahmi Script and Its Derivatives 17
2.2.1 Geographical and chronological range 17
2.2.2 The name of the script 17
2.2.3 The origin of Brahmi 19
2.2.4 Characteristics of Brahmi in the Mauryan period (third century B.C.) 30
2.2.5 The historical development and derivatives of Brahmi 31
2.3 The Kharosthi Script 42
2.3.1 Geographical range 42
2.3.2 Chronological range 46
2.3.3 Uses of Kharosthi 47
2.3.4 Paleographic features of Kharosthi 48
2.3.5 The name of the script 50
2.3.6 The origin of Kharosthi 51
2.3.7 Connections between Kharosthi and Brahmi 54
2.3.8 The paleographic development of Kharosthi 55
2.4 Numbers and Numerical Notation 56
2.4.1 Numerical notation in Brahmi and the derived scripts 56
2.4.2 Numerical notation in Kharosthi 63
2.5 Techniques of Epigraphic Writing 64
2.5.1 General comments 64
2.5.2 The technical execution of inscriptions 65
2.5.3 Calligraphic writing 68
2.5.4 Biscript inscriptions 70
2.6 Undeciphered Scripts 71
3 The Languages of Indic Inscriptions 72
3.1 Middle Indo-Aryan ("Prakrit") 72
3.1.1 General remarks 72
3.1.2 The Prakrits of the Asokan inscriptions 73
3.1.3 Other inscriptions of the Mauryan era 76
3.1.4 Later inscriptional Prakrits 76
3.1.5 Literary Middle Indo-Aryan in inscriptions 80
3.2 Mixed or "Hybrid" Dialects 81
3.2.1 The character of "Epigraphical Hybrid Sanskrit" (EHS) 81
3.2.2 Geographical and chronological distribution of EHS 82
3.2.3 The linguistic nature of EHS 83
3.3 Sanskrit 86
3.3.1 The earliest Sanskrit inscriptions 86
3.3.2 Early Sanskrit inscriptions from Mathura 87
3.3.3 Sanskrit inscriptions from western India in the Ksatrapa period 88
3.3.4 Early Sanskrit inscriptions from the Deccan and southern India 90
3.3.5 Early Sanskrit inscriptions from other regions 92
3.3.6 The emergence of Sanskrit in the Gupta period 92
3.3.7 Summary: Historical and cultural factors in the development of Sanskrit as an epigraphic language 93
3.3.8 Linguistic characteristics of inscriptional Sanskrit 94
3.4 The New Indo-Aryan (NIA) Languages 99
3.4.1 Marathi 100
3.4.2 Oriya 101
3.4.3 Gujarati 101
3.4.4 Hindi and related languages and dialects 102
3.4.5 Bengali and other eastern NIA languages 104
3.4.6 Nepali 104
3.4.7 Sinhalese 104
3.5 Other (Non-Indo-Aryan) Languages in Indian Inscriptions 105
3.5.1 Dravidian languages 105
3.5.2 Islamic languages (Arabic, Persian, Urdu) 106
3.5.3 Other non-Indic languages 107
3.6 Bilingual and Multilingual Inscriptions 109
4 Survey of Inscriptions in the Indo-Aryan Languages 110
4.1 Typological Survey 110
4.1.1 Royal donative and panegyric inscriptions (prasasti) 110
4.1.2 Land grant (copper plate) characters 113
4.1.3 Private donations 118
4.1.4 Memorial inscriptions 119
4.1.5 Label inscriptions 120
4.1.6 Pilgrims' and travelers' records 121
4.1.7 Cultic inscriptions 122
4.1.8 Literary inscriptions 123
4.1.9 Seal inscriptions 123
4.1.10 Miscellaneous inscriptions 124
4.2 Survey by Form and Material 126
4.2.1 Stone 126
4.2.2 Metals 129
4.2.3 Earthen materials 130
4.2.4 Wood 131
4.2.5 Miscellaneous materials 131
4.3 General Survey of Inscriptions 132
4.3.1 Inscriptions of the Mauryan period (third century B.C.) 133
4.3.2 Inscriptions of the Sunga period (ca. second to first centuries B.C.) 141
4.3.3 Inscriptions of the Indo-Greek and Indo-Scythian era (ca. second century B.C. to third century A.D.) 142
4.3.4 Inscriptions of the Gupta era (fourth to mid-sixth centuries A.D.) 145
4.3.5 Inscriptions of the post-Gupta or "Medieval" era (mid-seventh to tenth centuries A.D.) 146
4.3.6 Inscriptions of the "Islamic period" (eleventh to eighteenth centuries A.D.) 148
4.3.7 Extra-Indian inscriptions 150
5 Methods of Epigraphic Study 161
5.1 The Presentation of Inscriptional Texts 161
5.1.1 Reproduction of the original inscription 161
5.1.2 Presentation of the edited text 162
5.2 Translation and Interpretation of Inscriptions 164
5.3 Authentication of Inscriptions 165
5.4 Dating of Inscriptions 168
5.4.1 Undated or inadequately dated inscriptions; paleographic dating and problems thereof 168
5.4.2 Dated inscriptions 170
5.4.3 Conversion and verification of inscriptional dates 176
5.5 Appendix: Eras Used in Indo-Aryan Inscriptions 180
5.5.1 Continuous (historical or pseudohistorical) eras 180
5.5.2 Cyclical (astronomical) eras 196
6 The History of Indian Epigraphic Studies 199
6.1 The Pioneering Era: Early Readings of Indian Inscriptions (1781-1834) 199
6.2 The Era of Decipherment (1835-1860) 203
6.2.1 Decipherment of the early Brahmi script 204
6.2.2 Decipherment of the Kharosthi script 209
6.2.3 Other developments during the era of decipherment 215
6.3 The Period of Maturity (1861-1900) 217
6.4 The Modern Period (1901-1947) 221
6.5 Indian Epigraphy Since Independence (1947 to the present) 223
6.6 Future Prospects and Desiderata 224
7 Epigraphy as a Source for the Study of Indian Culture 226
7.1 Epigraphy and History 226
7.1.1 Political and dynastic history 226
7.1.2 Administrative, economic, and social history 231
7.2 Epigraphy and the Study of Indian Literature 232
7.2.1 Inscriptions as a source for the history of Indian literature 233
7.2.2 Inscriptional texts as literature 235
7.3 Epigraphy and the Study of Religion 238
7.3.1 The Brahmanical/Hindu tradition 239
7.3.2 Buddhism 241
7.3.3 Jainism and other sects 243
7.4 Epigraphy and the Study of the Arts 244
7.4.1 The visual arts 244
7.4.2 The performing arts 248
7.5 Epigraphy and Linguistics 248
7.6 Epigraphy and Geography 249
7.7 Other Fields 250
8 Bibliographic Survey 252
8.1 Primary Sources: Notices and Editions of Inscriptions 252
8.1.1 Periodicals 252
8.1.2 Epigraphic serial publications 254
8.1.3 Anthologies of inscriptions 255
8.1.4 Separate monographs 257
8.2 Secondary Sources: Handbooks and Reference Works 257
8.2.1 Handbooks of epigraphy and paleography 257
8.2.2 Reference works, bibliographies, and lists 259
8.2.3 Miscellaneous studies and collections 260
Appendix Selection of Typical Inscriptions 262
1. Rummindei minor pillar edict of Asoka 262
2. Besnagar pillar inscription of Heliodoros 265
3. Bharhut label inscriptions 267
4. Kalawan copper plate inscription 267
5. Sarnath umbrella shaft inscription of the time of Kaniska 270
6. Niya (central Asian) Kharosthi document 272
7. Kahaum pillar inscription of the time of Skandagupta 273
8. Lakkha Mandal prasasti 275
9. Vat Ph'u stone inscription of Jayavarman [I] 280
10. Baroda copper plate inscription of Rastrakuta Karkkaraja [II] 283
11. Tiruvenkadu temple inscription 295
12. Nalanda inscription of Vipulasrimitra 297
13. Pilgrim inscription on the Kosam pillar 302
14. Burhanpur inscription of Edala-Saha (Adil Shah) 304
15. Pabhosa Jaina inscription 307
Bibliography 311
Index of Inscriptions Cited 328
Index 351
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