Kulasekhara Varma and History of Kutiyattam

Christophe Vielle christophe.vielle at UCLOUVAIN.BE
Fri Oct 12 12:53:20 UTC 2012

One (first) āṭṭa-prakāraṃ (Mal.-Skr. word for designating a stage manual composed in Malayalam) is attributed to a certain Tōlan (Subramonia Iyer 1984: 11; for other, edited, āṭṭa-prakāraṃ, see e.g. refs in the ed. of the Naṭāṅkuśa, Tripunithura, 1993: 206), tadbhava of Atula, who was the protégé of the royal dramatist Kulaśekhara (himself author of the dramas Tapatī-Saṃvaraṇa and Subhadrā-Dhanañjaya, Sanskrit commentaries on each of which having been composed by a Brahmin contemporary of him). The date of the latter, as firmly established by Unni (1977, cf. also in his introduction to Id. & Bruce M. Sullivan ed./transl. 1995 and 2001 of the two plays), falls between 1050 and 1150 AD, which fits perfectly well with the dates of the reign of the last Cera emperor (of Mahodayapuram), i.e. Rāmavarman Kulaśekhara (1089-1124 AD, according to M.G.S. Narayanan and then Veluthat in Cherian ed. 1999: 49, 62-63). It is indeed rather improbable (at least for me) that the royal dramatist is to be identified with Kulaśekhara Āḷvār and that the ‘Kerala’ (involving the use of Malayalam) peculiar tradition of staging Sanskrit plays would have started before the 12th century. 

Christophe Vielle

Editor, Publications de l'Institut Orientaliste de Louvain series
- Last Indological issues: PIOL nos 53, 60 
- Still available: Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (vols 1-2-3-4-5),  Asaṅga's Mahāyānasaṃgraha, Vimalakīrtinirdeśa, Lamotte's History of Indian Buddhism, etc.

Le 12 oct. 2012 à 06:07, Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan a écrit :

> Dear Scholars,
>  "It is believed that Kulasekhara Varma Cheraman Perumal, an ancient King of Kerala, was the creator of kuṭiyaṭṭam in its present form. His book Āṭṭaprakaraṇa is considered as the most authoritative work on the art form till date."
> (...) Also can anyone provide more details regarding this king, Kulasekhara Varma Cheraman Perumal?

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