A Relief and Inscription from Kashmir

By: Ananda K. Coomaraswamy

Originally Published in 1931

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THE relief illustrated in Plate XII was found on the site of Huskapura (modern Ushkur), near Baramula in Kashmir, by Father de Ruyter of the Church Mission School at Baramula. The slab, which is on exhibition in the Fitler Pavilion, bears the equestrian portrait or effigy of a warrior armed with a bow carried on his left arm, a shield and sword on his right thigh, and a battle axe and a quiver full of arrows at his back; also apparently a mace is attached to the saddle. His costume consists of an under coat fastening on the proper right, and an over jacket fastened by straps in the centre; probably also of trousers and boots, but the feet are broken away. The horse is richly caparisoned and almost completely covered by a richly decorated cloth; it is guided by a bridle and bit. The incised inscription, in a late variety of Śāradā script known as Devāśesa, is damaged; it is in corrupt Sanskrit and not quite intelligible. The date, however, is clearly legible and is ‘on Friday, the ninth, of the dark fortnight of Magha in the year 82.’ The era is not specified, but may he assumed to be the usual Saptarsi or Laukika era of other Kashmir Śāradā inscription, which era is usually recorded with omission of the centuries. The year 82 of the inscription would then correspond to the year 6 of one of the Christian centuries, and this century, to judge from the epigraphical peculiarities and the style of the relief was most likely the sixteenth, giving the date A.D. 1506. As to the epigraphy, it may be remarked that medial e is not represented by the stroke behind the consonant as was the case up to the time of Zainu’l-‘Abidīn, King of Kashmir from A.D. 1420-1470. The second line of the inscription which must have contained the name of some king or queen is unfortunately defective. The rest of the document records a gift of goods and animals (twenty khāris of paddy, two of wheat, eight oxen and five traks of coarse sugar); but the names of the donor and recipient are lost. The style of the sculpture is somewhat provincial, but it is of high interest as a rare and almost uniquely complete representation of contemporary military equipment. For much of the information given above I am indebted to Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni, one of the most learned officer of the Archaeological Survey of India.

Ananda K. Coomaraswamy

Relief of a well adorned horseman
Plate XII — Relief and Inscription from Kashmir, India
Museum Object Number: 29-64-248
Image Number: 2275

Cite This Article

Coomaraswamy, Ananda K.. "A Relief and Inscription from Kashmir." Museum Bulletin II, no. 6 (April, 1931): 202-206. Accessed July 25, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/bulletin/785/

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