[INDOLOGY] Meaning of Paṭa?

Donald R Davis drdj at austin.utexas.edu
Thu Oct 31 15:41:38 UTC 2013

Dear Colleagues,

I am working on the Smṛticandrikā of Devaṇṇabhaṭṭa and its discussion of documents.  Several passages in the sub-section on rājaśāsana enjoin a king to inscribe a land grant “paṭe vā tāmrapaṭṭe vā.” Yājñavalkya (1.319) is the first, I think.  Most translators have rendered paṭa here as “cloth,” which makes no sense to me, as I have never seen a cloth inscription of this sort and it seems an unusually non-durable material for an important inscription.  So, Amarakośa (and MW lists this, too) gives several synonyms, all of which point to the chirauli/chironji nut (Buchanania Latifolia) or, I suppose, its bark.

Can anyone help me identify paṭa here more certainly?  I don’t know the first thing about trees and this appears to be a common enough tree in India and other parts of Asia, but is the bark of this tree meant here?  Thanks for any help or leads you may have.


Don Davis
Dept. of Asian Studies
University of Texas at Austin

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