[INDOLOGY] deciphering a Tibetan mural

C.A. Formigatti caf57 at cam.ac.uk
Tue Nov 3 10:57:39 UTC 2015

Dear Mark,

As Prof. Salomon already wrote, it is indeed a script very common in 
Nepalese palm-leaf manuscripts (from my experience up to the 15h-16th 
century; it is used also in some earlier Pala manuscripts). The picture 
has a relatively good resolution, but still it is difficult to read the 
first part of the text (it might begin with the akṣaras kama). I believe 
that the last part reads vakaddhitvād. It is interesting to note that 
many Nepalese scripts were used as ornamental scripts in Tibet, and also 
that the writing material in the depiction seems to be paper (as to be 
expected in Tibet), since the folio bends.

Best wishes,

Camillo Formigatti

>  Dear friends,
> A colleague of mine who works in Indo-Tibetan art contacted me for
> help deciphering some writing on a mural he’s studying. I include
> here the information and image he provided:
> I wonder if I might trouble you to take a look at a detail of mural
> depicting the learned 17th century Tibetan scholar Taranatha
> (attached). He is shown holding the stems of two lotuses, one lotus
> bearing a sword, the other a text, the attributes of Manjushri. The
> detail I send you is of the text, which I fancy aims at depicting
> Sanskrit (it is not Tibetan, either cursive or otherwise). Is this
> pseudo-Sanskrit (on par with pseudo-Kufic), or is it possible that it
> is indeed readable Sanskrit? Much obliged if you have a moment to
> glance at it.
> I am not able to make sense of the writing, and this is far afield
> from my areas of expertise. Thanks in advance for any help.
> Best,
> Mark

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