Manuscript glosses

Michael Witzel witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Tue Jun 2 21:37:37 UTC 2009

Corrections are written on any margin: left, right, top or bottom and  
usually marked by a small cross (looks like this +), kakapada, or  
also some other sign(s).

This can be found from Kashmir to Comorin, whatever the script.  (Not  
to be confused with secondary word dividers or Vedic accents).

Sometimes also found above the word, especially as small glosses,  
tippani. In old MSS and in more recent ones. (I have seen it in those  
from c. 1150-1800, don't remember it for older ones such as the  
Skandapurana from Nepal, early 9th c., or Gandhara and Xinjiang MSS).

Paleontologists have discussed this before, since Buehler. A nice  
list is found in a local Nepalese paleography which I do not have at  
hand now.


On Jun 2, 2009, at 1:27 PM, Ashok Aklujkar wrote:

> In the name used for a commentary or subcommentary  
> type, the
> intention behind using the prefix ava could originally have been to  
> suggest
> that the glosses are written below -- below the lines or in the  
> lower parts
> of pages. I recall seeing mss where the was written in  
> the lower
> parts of pages, but I do not recall if the mss concerned were old  
> or recent.
> The type seems to have been more common among the  
> Jains and
> in the central-western part of India (Gujarat-Rajasthan area).
> My impression, however, is that corrections, additions and glosses  
> are more
> commonly written in the left and right margins.
> ashok aklujkar

Michael Witzel
witzel at

Dept. of Sanskrit & Indian Studies, Harvard University
1 Bow Street,
Cambridge MA 02138, USA

phone: 1- 617 - 495 3295 (voice & messages), 496 8570, fax 617 - 496  
my direct line:  617- 496 2990

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list