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A Buddhist Foundation in Śārdīysa

A New Interpretation of the Schøyen Copper Scroll

Hans Bakker

Abstract

The article adduces reasons in support of the view that the famous Schøyen Copper Scroll does not come from Afghanistan (Bactria), as maintained by its editor Gudrun Melzer, but belongs to the land south of the Hindu Kush. The donation of a Buddhist Stūpa, recorded in the scroll, was officially made by the Devaputra King of Tālagāna, which may have been a place in the Panjab. It is argued, however, that this pious foundation was organized in particular by his Queen, who is said to have been the daughter of the King of Sārada. The first person speaking in the last 7 verses of the inscription may be identified as this Queen of Tālagāna, who speaks of her homecountry, indicating that the donated Stūpa was erected in the land of Sārada. The village in which the Stūpa was erected is called Śārdīysa. This village, it is argued, can be identified with the present-day village of Śārdi in the Neelum Valley of Kashmir. This region of Kashmir was controlled by the Hūṇa (Alchon) king Mehama, under whose rule the foundation is said to have taken place. The Alchon kings Khīṅgīla and Toramāna may have been mentioned in the scroll on account of their control over Gandhāra and the Panjab, in which the donor institution of Tālagāna was situated. The fourth Alchon king mentioned in the scroll, Javūkha, probably reigned in the Swat Valley. These four Alchon kings formed a confederacy, well-known from their common coinage. The scroll evinces that they were involved in the patronage of Buddhism.

The Vākāṭaka Heritage

Indian Culture at the Crossroads

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Edited by Hans T. Bakker

In what is often considered to be the heyday of classical Indian culture, the 4th and 5th centuries AD, the dynasty of the Vākāṭakas emerged as one of the major patrons of religion and art. Covering the greater part of the northern Deccan, the Vākāṭaka kingdoms were situated at the crossroads of the main north-south and west-east caravan routes.

This situation in the heart of the South-Asian subcontinent may partly explain the prosperity of the Vākāṭaka kingdoms and certainly accounts for their cultural diversity and richness, to which the Hindu temples on and around the Rāmagiri (Ramtek Hill) and the Buddhist Caves at Ajanta still bear witness. Here, at the crossroads of the lndo-Aryan north and Dravidian south, the northern culture of the Gupta kingdom reached the Deccan and developed a character of its own. The articles collected in this volume intend to augment our knowledge of how the Vākāṭaka culture came into being, which forces and influences contributed to its flourishing, and how its achievements informed the historical and cultural developments after its fall.

Richly illustrated contributions address the Vākāṭaka Heritage from a variety of disciplines: history (Kulke, von Stietencron), archaeology (Kennet), numismatics (Raven), political and religious history (Willis, Bakker), iconography (Brown, Yokochi), and art history (Williams, Spink, Wood, Stadtner, and Nigam).

The Vākāṭakas

An Essay in Hindu Iconology

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Hans T. Bakker

For now more than half a century, scholars of the history of Western art have become familiar with the idea that art is embedded in a social and cultural context which imbues it with meaning and as such may be viewed as a source which generates knowledge concerning this context; this again may result in a better understanding of the artefact itself. This synthetic method of investigation, known under the name of ‘iconology,’ has proved to be of great value in the research of the history of culture. The present book is an essay in which the ‘classical age’ of India is studied by exploring textual as well as archaeological sources that relate to the kingdom of the Vākāṭakas, the southern neighbours of the Guptas in the fourth and fifth centuries AD.

A great number of inscriptions and Hindu sculptures have been discovered and published during the last two decades. Among these inscriptions the one found in the Kevala-Narasiṃha Temple on Ramtek Hill (Rāmagiri) deserves special mention as it throws a flood of light on the political history of the Vākāṭakas and their relationship with the Guptas. This book draws on the new sculptural and epigraphical evidence in presenting a history of the Vākāṭaka kingdom. The (Hindu) sculptures found in the eastern Vākāṭaka realm are brought together for the first time in an illustrated catalogue, their findspots are surveyed, their iconography is studied and their link with Ajanta is pointed out.

Edited by Hans T. Bakker

The Groningen Oriental Studies publishes scholarly works in the field of classical Indology since 1986. The series is published under the auspices of the J. Gonda Foundation (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences). It focuses on philological works, critical editions of texts in Sanskrit and New Indo-Aryan languages, as well as text-related studies. From 2013 onwards the series will be merged with the Gonda Indological Studies (GIS), which focuses on monographs and collected volumes on topics such as the (cultural) history, material culture, literature, languages, philosophy and religions of South Asia.
In the Supplement to the Groningen Oriental Studies (GOSS) appears the critical edition and study of the Skandapurāṇa.

The series published one volume over the last 5 years.

Holy Ground: Where Art and Text Meet

Studies in the Cultural History of India

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Hans T. Bakker

The 31 selected and revised articles in the volume Holy Ground: Where Art and Text Meet, written by Hans Bakker between 1986 and 2016, vary from theoretical subjects to historical essays on the classical culture of India. They combine two mainstreams: the Sanskrit textual tradition, including epigraphy, and the material culture as expressed in works of religious art and iconography. The study of text and art in close combination in the actual field where they meet provides a great potential for understanding. The history of holy places is therefore one of the leitmotivs that binds these studies together.
One article, "The Ramtek Inscriptions II", was co-authored by Harunaga Isaacson, two articles, on "Moksadharma 187 and 239–241" and "The Quest for the Pasupata Weapon," by Peter C. Bisschop.

The Quest for the Pāśupata Weapon

The Gateway of the Mahādeva Temple at Madhyamikā (Nagarī)

Hans T. Bakker and Peter C. Bisschop

This article offers a new iconographic reading of the sixth-century architrave of the gateway of the Mahādeva Temple at ancient Madhyamikā (Nagarī). It is argued that the eastern and western face of the architrave should be read in conjunction. The eastern face shows Śiva’s entry as a naked mendicant into the Devadāruvana, while the western face depicts the Kirātārjunīya, a story that is foreshadowed in the panels of the eastern face. The motif that ties both stories together is the Brahmaśiras or ‘Head of Brahmā,’ which is simultaneously the skull that forms Śiva’s begging bowl and the Pāśupata Weapon acquired by Arjuna. The theme of the winning of the Pāśupata Weapon may have had particular resonance for the Aulikara rulers in their troubled times.

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Hans T. Bakker, Yuko Yokochi and Peter C. Bisschop

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Hans T. Bakker, Yuko Yokochi and Peter C. Bisschop