New Documents for the Early History of Puṇḍravardhana (North Bengal): Copper-Plate Inscriptions from the late Gupta and Early Post-Gupta periods

12.05.2015 13:30 - 15:00

Arlo Griffiths | École française d'Extrême-Orient

From the large area covered on the modern political map by West Bengal and Bangladesh, less than two dozen copper-plate charters are known for the entire period preceding the ascent of the Pāla dynasty, and only a single (fragmentary) stone inscription. Two new copper plates have recently come to light, both from the Puṇḍravardhana area, i.e. North Bengal. The first is dated to year 159 of the Gupta era, i.e. 478 CE, and was hence issued during the reign of Budhagupta; the second is dated to the year 5 of a previously unknown king named Pradyumnabandhu, who must have ruled in the period between about 550 and 650 CE — a period for which Puṇḍravardhana had heretofore lacked any historical documentation. In this lecture, I will sketch the state of the art of pre-Pāla epigraphy of Bengal, and then discuss the contents of the new inscriptions.

Arlo Griffiths is Professor of Southeast Asian History at the École française d'Extrême-Orient since 2008, and adjunct professor of Epigraphy at the University of Indonesia, Jakarta, since 2010. He is currently teaching at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, section des Sciences religieuses (Paris) and at the Université de Lyon III – Jean Moulin (Lyon), Département d'Indologie.

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