[INDOLOGY] Vessantara-Jataka

Eugen Ciurtin e.ciurtin at gmail.com
Tue Oct 28 10:42:20 UTC 2014

Dear Prof Koch,

Your example and illustrations are of course rather curious. They are
unknown to the early 19th c. Newari Vess too (as reproduced by the late
Siegfried Lienhard).

However, even for (older) Pali only, the weighing of woman is not unknown.
In the Therīgāthā (v. 153), the nun Anopamā (‘Unsurpassed’), daughter of a
wealthy merchant, is courted by princes and proposed by merchants for eight
times her weight (Masset 2005: 52, ‘huit fois l’équivalent en or et pierres
précieuses!’; and the cty as transl. by Pruitt 1998: 179–180, ‘what she
weighs as measured by those who know marks’). For a context, see my "Karma
accounts: supplementary thoughts on Theravāda, Madhyamaka, theosophy, and
Protestant Buddhism, Religion, 43:4, 487-498, with an addendum

As far as I know, the best recent work on the *tūlāpuruṣa *belongs
to Annette Schmiedchen:

2003. “Die Tūlāpuruṣa-Zeremonie: Das rituelle Aufwiegen des Herrschers
Gold.” Beiträge des Südasien-Instituts der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
12: 21–49.


2006. The Ceremony of Tūlāpuruṣa: The Puranic Concept and the Epigraphical
Evidence. In Script and Image. Papers on Art and Epigraphy, eds. Adalbert
J. Gail, Gerd J. R. Mevissen,
Richard Salomon, Proceedings of the 12th World Sanskrit Conference 11.1,
New Delhi: Motilal
Banarsidass, 145–184.

Kind regards,
Eugen Ciurtin
(Institute for the History of Religions, Bucharest)

2014-10-28 11:54 GMT+02:00 Rolf Heinrich Koch <rolfheiner.koch at gmail.com>:

>  Dear listmembers,
> continous paintings of the Vessantara-Jataka murals in Sri Lankan
> monasteries
> depict always an episode which I cannot trace back to Pali-, buddhist
> Sanskrit or
> Tibetean sources.
> It is the following episode (picture attached):
> the Brahman Jujaka gets for the release of Vessantara's daughter
> golden coins accoring to the weight of this girl. The murals depicting
> always a balance with Kṛṣṇajalī (the daughter) sitting in one
> scale pan, coins are visible the second pan.
> Now I could find the description of this part of the mural in the
> Sinhalese tradition (13th century).
> Did anyone came across literal descriptions with a similar content?
> Probably in Chinese, Burmese or Siam sources?
> Best
> Heiner
> (Rolf Heinrich Koch)
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Dr E. Ciurtin
Secretary of the Romanian Association for the History of Religions

Publications Officer of the European Association for the Study of Religions

Lecturer & Secretary of the Scientific Council
Institute for the History of Religions, Romanian Academy
Calea 13 Septembrie no. 13 sect. 5, Bucharest 050711
Phone: 00 40 733 951 953

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