The Indian System of Human Marks


Editor: Kenneth G. Zysk
In The Indian System of Human Marks, Zysk offers a literary history of the Indian system of knowledge, which details divination by means of the marks on the bodies of both men and women. In addition to a historical analysis, the work includes texts and translations of the earliest treatises in Sanskrit. This is followed by a detailed philological analysis of the texts and annotations to the translations.
The history follows the Indian system’s evolution from its roots in ancient Mesopotamian collections of omen on the human body to modern-day practice in Rajasthan in the north and Tamilnadu in the south. A special feature of the book is Zysk’s edition and translation of the earliest textual collection of the system in the Gargīyajyotiṣa from the 1st century CE. The system of human marks is one of the few Indian textual sources that links ancient India with the antique cultures of Mesopotamia and Greece.

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Kenneth G. Zysk, PhD (1981), Austrialian National University, DPhil (2001) University of Oslo, is Lektor (Associate Professor) of Indology at the University of Copenhagen. He has published many books and articles on the Indian traditions of medicine and eroticism, including Conjugal Love in India (Brill, 2002) (Sir Henry Wellcome Asian Series, Vol. 1).
" The Indian System of Human Marks should stimulate creative research at the important intersection of Āyurveda and Jyotiḥśāstra, as well as comparative work beyond South Asia. As always, Zysk’s meticulous and reliable textual labour sets a firm basis for interdisciplinary inquiry."
Marko Geslani, Emory University, USA, Asian Medicine 11 (2016)
All interested in ancient divination, physiognomy, the history of medicine, and the cultural and literature history of India, along with those specialist who work on Indian manuscripts and textual criticism.