prsthamatra and nandinagari

Royce Wiles Royce.Wiles at ANU.EDU.AU
Tue May 25 04:17:04 UTC 1999

>1. When and where was the prsthamatra-vocalization for
>nagari-manuscripts in use and when was it last used for that script?
>2. When and where was nandinagari used in manuscripts?

I don't know anything about Nandinagari, even pRSThamAtrA is hardly ever
mentioned. Two "citations" below.

The oldest Jain palmleaf manuscripts from Rajasthan and Gujarat give only
pRSThamAtrA ie. 12th-13th centuries. However in later manuscripts (I have
photocopies from dated manuscripts of 1545 and 1616 CE) it is possible to
find scribes using both pRSThamAtrA and the conventional representations of
e side by side, sometimes both styles in the same word. Later manuscripts I
suspect come to have only the conventional style of e, but there was a long
period of overlap when both forms were in use, at least in Jain MSS centres
(Rajasthan and Gujarat).

Given the conservative nature of Jain scribal traditions (I have not used
MSS from other traditions) I think it would be unwise to try to date a
NAgarI manuscript solely by the presence of pRSThamAtrAs or not.

1.     Chandrabhal Tripathi.1975. Catalogue of the Jain manuscripts at
mentions prsthamatra-s in passing in the introduction (but I don't have the
book with me so can't cite the precise page, maybe it is only in a footnote

2.      H. R. Kapadia says only this:

The combination of e with a consonant comes to [sic] writing an oblong line
raised upon the horizontal stroke of a consonant. This is called a mAtrA.
This may be optionally written as a karNa to the right of the consonant and
touching the horizontal stroke of the consonant so that it may not be
mistaken as a karNa of the preceding consonant, if any. In the latter case
such a karNa is called pRSThamAtrA, paDimAtrA, paDImAtrA or pratimAtrA.

H. R. Kapadia. 1939. A detailed exposition of the Nagari, Gujarati and Modi
scripts. ABORI 19 (1939) 386-411 p. 406-407.

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