[INDOLOGY] rubrication in Indian mss.

Patrick Olivelle jpo at uts.cc.utexas.edu
Sun Nov 29 16:33:59 UTC 2015

Yes, we are far from rubrication — but a parallel to Ashok's dust-board is the preliminary writing of a plaint in a court of law on what they say is "phalaka", or chalk board, where corrections are made and the plaint written down permanently on a patra. See Nārada Smṛti mātṛkā, 2:18; Bṛhaspati Smṛti 1.2.30.


On Nov 29, 2015, at 9:56 AM, Matthew Kapstein <mkapstei at uchicago.edu> wrote:

> We're now far from rubrication, but in connection with Ashok's comment about "dust-boards," it
> may be of interest to note that Tibetans employed a similar technique in order to economize on
> paper. White ash would be sprinkled on a slate or blackboard, on which students could then
> practice their writing using a dry bamboo pen. But there was a deluxe version of this as well,
> in which a lacquered black surface, fastened into an often elaborately decorated case, so that the
> ash would not be disturbed after writing, served as the medium for transmitting messages among
> the high aristocracy. The recipient, on receiving the message, would transcribe it into his journal
> if necessary, but then wipe the slate clean before returning it. 
> Matthew Kapstein
> Directeur d'études, 
> Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes
> Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies,
> The University of Chicago
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