Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Indian Epigraphy

[First posted in AWOL  10 March 2010, updated 22 November 2016]

Indian Epigraphy
The basic purpose of the present site is the creation of a compact, systematic and critical repository of Indian epigrahical sources. The material will be 'critical' in the sense that it registers variants in decipherment and alternate readings, with the exception of obvious mistakes. It aims to make these sources accessible to all scholars, even those who have only minimal expertise in computers. Moreover, it requires no special software or hardware to utilize the materials being made available here. 
All that is necessary for viewing our collection of inscriptions is the the installation of a special font (ttf-font), which you can download here as a zip. file. A Mac compatible version of the same font is also available here zip file, due to kindness of Dr. Volker Thewalt (http://www.bamiyan.de, http://www.thewalt.de), converted the font.
The importance of epigraphy for the study of pre-modern South Asia should be obvious. So too should the necessity for a data base in which, over time, it may be possible to begin to make accessible some of the fruits of generations of epigraphists and scholars who have studied these inscriptions, but whose works are often very difficult to find even for those with access to the best libraries. 

In addition, many of the treasures of these vital sources remain unpublished. The only way to make published but obscure as well as still unpublished materials easily available is to utilize the universality of the World Wide Web, through which scholars from around the world can contribute and cooperate to make available and make use of these sources. 
Moreover, it is only through this means that some system may be introduced by which the available materials may be organized, categorized, catalogued and ordered. Presenting these sources in electronic form will also facilitate their study by modern means, including statistical and other computer-related methods. 
One of the basic purposes of the creation of the present database is as an invitation to wide co-operation in this area. Already the first results consist in the publication of two small (and highly specific) collections of epigraphical texts. This has convinced me of the necessity of continuing to develop this resource - within the one and a half years this site has existed, we have been visited more then 10,000 times. This is very encouraging, especially considering the fact that this site is indexed only in one Internet-index, Gretil. (I may mention that this is certainly the best such index for the use of Indologists, and in this connection I would like to express special gratitude to its creator, Dr. Reinhold Gruenendahl). 
However, I cannot carry out this project on my own; I require the assistance of colleagues everywhere. I eagerly solicit your feed-back, advice, and most of all your contributions toward the project of making epigraphical sources available more widely. Suggestions about the reading of the sources, about matters of interpretation, and about what materials you would like to see made available are eagerly sought after. 
There are relatively few of us working today in the field of Sanskrit epigraphy, and only a smaller numbermaking active use of the Internet. It is in all of our interests to cooperate as much as possible!
Please make free use of the materials posted here, and spread the word of the existence of this site to your colleagues, students and friends.

No comments:

Post a Comment