[INDOLOGY] Ears of the Buddha

rajam rajam at earthlink.net
Tue Jan 4 05:02:25 UTC 2022

Ear-piercing is an age-old tradition in South India and Sri Lanka, which is practiced even now. 

Elongating ear lobes IS also a practice in some ethnic groups in South India. It is NOT for renunciation. 

The earliest literary attestation we have is from porunarāRRuppadai (பொருநராற்றுப்படை) where a dancing woman (in a group of wandering bards) is described as having elongated ear lobes; her ears are compared to the handle of a scissors. I may not be using the right term, sorry. 

So … I think it must have been a pan-indic practice to grow long ear lobes.


> On Dec 30, 2021, at 11:41 PM, Asko Parpola via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> A very rich collection of references to the ear is:
> Bollée, Willem B., 2010. Remarks on the cultural history of the ear in India. Pp. 141-167 in: Balbir, Nalini (ed.) 2010. Svasti: Essays in honour of Professor Hampa Nagarajaiah for his 75th birthday. Bangalore: K. S. Muddappa Smaraka Trust. 
> On p. 145 Bollée discusses the form of the ear, starting with “Karṇa ‘Longear’ (?)” and “Vikarṇa ‘With widely extended ears’” … “Long ears are a positive mark of Mahāvīra (…); such people, however, are to be excluded from the sacrifice to the dead.” …
> Best wishes for a Happy New Year 2022,
> Asko Parpola
>> On 31. Dec 2021, at 8.32, Allen Thrasher via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info <mailto:indology at list.indology.info>> wrote:
>> If the particular work of art shows a large piercing or rather a hole in the ear, it must intend to communicate that he used to have large and heavy earrings, which he renounced.  This does not necessarily mean that his ears were not also naturally pinayata.
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