Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Inscribed Reliquary, Donated by King Indravarman

Date:
A.D. 5–6
Culture:
Pakistan (ancient region of Gandhara, Bajaur)
Medium:
Schist
Dimensions:
Diam. 3 5/8 in. (9.2 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Samuel Eilenberg Collection, Gift of Samuel Eilenberg, 1987
Accession Number:
1987.142.70a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 235
Inscribed: "In the sixty-third year of the late Great King Aya [Azes], on the sixteenth day of the month Kartia [Kartika]; at this auspicious [?] time, Prince Indravarma [Indravarman], son of the King of Apraca, establishes these bodily relics of Lord Sakyamuni; . . . he produces brahma-merit together with his mother, Rukhunaka, daughter of Aji. . . . And these bodily relics, having been brought in procession from the Muryaka cave stupa, were established in a secure [?], safe, deep [?] depository. . . ."
Inscription: Six line inscription running around lid and body, in Kharoshti:

In the sixty-third (63) year of the late Great King Aya [Azes], on the sixteenth day of the month Kartia [Karttika]; at this auspicious (?) time, Prince Idravarma [Indravarman], son of the King of Apraca, establishes these bodily relics of Lord Sakyamuni in a secure, deep, previously unestablished place; he produces brahma-merit together with his mother Rukhunaka, daughter of Ai (and) wife of the King of Apraca, with (his) maternal uncle Ramaka, with (his) maternal uncle's wife Dasaka, with (his) sisters and wife--Vasavadatta, Mahaveda, and Nika, and (his) wife Utara. And (this is done) in honor of (his) father Visnuvarma. The King of Avaca (=Apraca) 's brother, the Commander Vaga is honored, and Vijayamitra, [former] King of Avaca. (His) mother's sister, Bhagidatta is honored. And these bodily relics having been brought in procession from the Muryaka cave stupa, were established in a secure(?), safe, deep(?) depository, (in) the year twenty-five.

This translation, which takes into account the variations of all the earlier ones, is by Salomon and Schopen [pp. 108-9]. Variations occur because Kharoshti originated as an Aramaic script and was not well suited to capture the phonetics of the Indian language, as some of Aramaic's vowels and consonants were different [Bailey, pp. 3-4]. Some extrapolation is, therefore, necessary in any Kharoshti translation, but especially in that of names, for which standard forms may not exist.)
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