martes, 18 de noviembre de 2014

Australasian Association of Buddhist Studies (AABS)
Dear list members,

The AABS, Sydney Southeast Asian Centre, and the University of Sydney Asian Studies Program will host a seminar by Arlo Griffiths at 5:00-6:30pm on Monday November 24 in the Rogers Room (N397) of the John Woolley Building, University of Sydney.

We hope you can attend.

Kind regards,
AABS Executive

The Sanskrit Inscriptions of Arakan (Myanmar)

The earliest phase of the history of Arakan (or Rakhine, in Myanmar), between about the sixth and the tenth centuries, has to be written on the basis of inscriptions and related material such as coins, bearing texts in Sanskrit language. These show Arakan to be a part of the Buddhist world with strong ties to Southeastern Bengal (the Samataṭa and Harikela regions) and beyond this with the Buddhist communities of Northeastern India using Sanskrit as preferential medium of expression. A first batch of Arakan Sanskrit inscriptions was studied by E.H. Johnston and published posthumously in 1943. Since then, this field has been further explored mainly by P. Gutman in her unpublished doctoral thesis (1976), and during visits to Arakan over the following decades. In collaboration with this scholar, I am engaged in a comprehensive study of the Arakan Sanskrit corpus. The material is often in deplorable state of preservation, so that hardly any well-preserved text (other than short ye dharmāḥ inscriptions) can be added to the record compiled by Johnston. But even fragmentary material can throw new light on the past, especially when studied in combination with epigraphical and numismatic discoveries made in Southeast Bengal over the past half-century. The paper will present some the ‘new’ inscriptions, and discuss their salient features. The overall problem that I will attempt to address is the extent to which the Arakan corpus may be regarded as integral to the epigraphical and Buddhist culture of northeastern South Asia, or can be said to represent a specifically Arakanese cultural identity.

Arlo Griffiths held the chair of Sanskrit at Leiden University from 2005 through 2008, before joining the École française d’Extrême-Orient as Professor of Southeast Asian History and being posted at its Jakarta branch from 2009 to the present. His main fields of academic interest are ancient South and Southeast Asian history on the basis of inscriptions, and Sanskrit philology at large. After publishing mainly on topics related to the tradition of the Atharvaveda in Orissa (India), he has for the last several years concentrated on the epigraphy of Campā (Vietnam) and Indonesia.

Buddhist reliquary stupa

Gold leaf covered schist reliquary in the form of a stupa.  Kusana period, North Western India. National Museum, Karachi, Pakistan. Copyright: Huntington, John C. and Susan L.Huntington Archive