pots, brahmin names, and potters

Georg von Simson g.v.simson at EAST.UIO.NO
Thu Dec 10 09:59:47 UTC 1998

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan wrote
>Several Tamil inscriptions have intriguing names of brahmins who received
>royal grants. The names contain words meaning pot, bowl or urn. These are not
>very rare occurrences either. For instance, along with droNa/tONa, we find
>caTTi (DEDR 2306), tA_li (DEDR 3182), maNTai (DEDR 4682) all refer to
>different type of earthern vessels.
- cut -
>We should note that Pallavas claimed themselves to be brahmin descendants of
>droNa born in a bucket/trough. As a result one can assume many brahmins could
>have had droNa/tONa in their names. But, we also have the form tONamaNTa
>zarman (<droNamaNTai zarman?).
- cut -
> Why would brahmins have words
>referring to different kinds of earthern vessels in their names?
- cut -
>The epic droNa is of course similar to bhArgava rAma in
>being born a brahmin but behaving as a kSatriya. I have in my earlier postings
>pointed out the potter-priest-warrior connections.
 Though kumbhayoni can be used as an argument in this case, the problem (at
least for me) is that droNa - probably to be derived from dru/dAru, "wood"
- means "wooden vessel" (or has this meaning changed in the Dravidian
languages?), and therefore cannot directly be connected with pottery.


Georg v. Simson

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