[INDOLOGY] cubits

Matthew Kapstein mkapstei at uchicago.edu
Thu Jun 24 16:51:50 UTC 2021

Dear Patrick,

I believe that for the creation of art, altars and so forth in connection with ritual use, tradition required that the measure be taken from the sponsor's physical dimensions. As the system is therefore relative and not absolute, exact conversion is not possible.

The measures used in actual practice, however, may often be a different matter.

all best,

Matthew Kapstein
Directeur d'études, émérite
Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris

Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies,
The University of Chicago
From: INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at list.indology.info> on behalf of patrick mccartney via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info>
Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2021 11:13 AM
To: Indology List <indology at list.indology.info>
Subject: [INDOLOGY] cubits

Dear Friends,

I have a query about cubits. I know that different lengths for the cubit measurement exist across time and cultures, though I'm still left with some doubt about my conversion. Might I be correct in calculating 60 cubits = 27.4 meters (90 feet)?

I came across this figure in the following passage.

“Uggasena appeared; he climbed up a pole sixty cubits high made up of many lengths of bamboo affixed one to the other firmly. He stood on top of the pole poised to stage a performance.” (vol. 3, p 217) // “Their show usually started with the appearance on the stage of a young maid, the daughter of the troupe's leading acrobat. She displayed her skill in acrobatics in various styles on a string of bamboos at a certain height from the ground; she moved from end to end gently and steadily, as she danced and sang with a pleasant voice.” (vol. 3, p 214) Vicittasārābhivaṃsa et al. (1996, vol. 3, p. 217).<https://holybooks.com/great-chronicle-buddhas/>

Thank you.

All the best,

パトリック マッカートニー
Patrick McCartney, PhD
Research Affiliate - Organization for Identity and Cultural Development (OICD), Kyoto
Research Associate - Nanzan University Anthropological Institute, Nagoya, Japan
Visiting Fellow - South and South-east Asian Studies Department, Australian National University
Member - South Asia Research Institute (SARI), Australian National University

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bodhapūrvam calema ;-)



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