[INDOLOGY] deciphering a Tibetan mural

Christophe Vielle christophe.vielle at uclouvain.be
Tue Nov 3 12:39:03 UTC 2015

Dear list,
I forward below Dr. Anirban Dash (University of  Pune)'s short message to Dylan Esler on the topic, with his tentative transcription made on the picture.

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Anirban Dash <brahmilipi at gmail.com>
To: Dylan Esler <jampalde at yahoo.co.uk> 
Sent: Tuesday, 3 November 2015, 12:11
Subject: Re: Fw: [INDOLOGY] deciphering a Tibetan mural

It is a script of Nepali family. The script name may be 'bhuji mol' bhuji means fly and mol means - head . Head stroke of each letter looks like fly. It is not so clear. Whatever i have understood, sending to you. thanks. 

With best regards,

Anirban Dash

Department  of Pali and Buddhist Studies
University of Pune, Ganeshkhind, 
Pune  -    411007,  Maharashtra, India
Mobile : 91 +   7769 934157    (PUNE)
                91 +   9839 482298  (VARANASI)
Skype:    brahmilipi

Le 3 nov. 2015 à 11:57, C.A. Formigatti <caf57 at cam.ac.uk> a écrit :

> 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 Mark,

I don't think there's anything "pseudo-" about this inscription. It looks like script forms seen in old Sanskrit mss. from Nepal, and also resembles Pala-period scripts. A specialist in those areas (which I am not) should be able to confirm this and read it. (The last word is probably svaahaa.)

Richard Salomon
Department of Asian Languages and Literature
University of Washington, Box 353521
Seattle WA 98195-3521

>> 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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Christophe Vielle

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