The Indian Pantheon of Châlons-en-Champagne

[This post is a free translation of an earlier post originally published in French]

The Museum of Fine Arts and Archaeology at Châlons-en-Champagne owns since 1872 a group of 22 granite sculptures (fig. 1) from the neighbourhood of Pondicherry and Karaikal (Karikal, Kāraikkāl). These were given by Pierre-Eugène Lamairesse, a native from Châlons, who exercised between 1860 and 1866 as chief engineer in French India (Établissements français dans l’Inde). During his fieldwork in the countryside he could acquire idols fallen into disuse from villagers. Continue reading

Le panthéon indien de Châlons-en-Champagne

[For an English version, click here]

Le Musée des Beaux-arts et d’Archéologie de Châlons-en-Champagne possède depuis 1872 un ensemble rare de vingt-deux sculptures en granite (ill. 1) provenant des environs de Pondichéry et de Karaikal (Karikal, Kāraikkāl). Ces statues furent données à sa ville natale de Châlons par Pierre-Eugène Lamairesse. Ce dernier officia de 1860 à 1866 comme ingénieur en chef des Établissements français dans l’Inde et c’est au cours de ses missions dans la campagne qu’il acquit auprès de villageois ces idoles tombées, assure-t-il dans sa correspondance, en désuétude. Continue reading

Tamil Original of Ellis’ Legend of the Cowpox Found

[This post is a free translation of an earlier post originally published in French]

A few months ago, one of my excellent colleagues—Grégoire Schlemmer, not to mention his name—reported me the existence of a small collection on Indian manuscripts in the Bibliothèque interuniversitaire des langues orientales (BIULO), that one can access in the Réserve of the Bibliothèque universitaire des langues et civilisations (BULAC). Continue reading

Découverte de l’original tamoul de la légende de la variole de la vache de Francis Whyte Ellis

[For an English version, click here]

Il y a quelques mois, l’un de mes excellents collègues – Grégoire Schlemmer, pour ne pas le nommer – me signala l’existence d’un petit fonds de manuscrits indiens à la Bibliothèque interuniversitaire des langues orientales (BIULO), qu’on peut consulter aujourd’hui à la Réserve de la Bibliothèque universitaire des langues et civilisations (BULAC). Continue reading

Overseas Temples and Tamil Migratory Space

Temples have been places of major importance for Tamil societies for more than fifteen centuries. Following the migration of Tamilians from South India, the perpetuation overseas of their tradition as temple builders and the creation of a Tamil diaspora, they can now be found on the five continents. They are indicative of the exportation of Tamil Hinduism on a global scale and prompt us to ponder the relationships linking these overseas temples and the Tamil migratory space. This paper examines the identity issues as well as the spatial meanings and transnational connections related to the making of such places. The study of some of these temples in Canada and Mauritius helps to determine how Tamil temples have become major centres of transnational social spaces and to document the geographical features of the building of ‘hauts lieux’ by migrant communities in host countries. Continue reading

Governmental Institutions vs. Associations: The Multifaceted Expression of Siddha Medicine in Tamil Nadu

Siddha (citta1) is one of the codified traditional medicines recognized and supported by the Ministry of the Heath and Family Welfare. It shares the main concepts of ayurveda (āyurveda) but while the texts of ayurveda are written in Sanskrit and this medicine is widespread throughout all India, the textual corpus of siddha is in Tamil language and this medicine is practised in Tamil Nadu, and in some Asiatic and Arabic countries which accommodate a large Tamil community. Continue reading

  1. The transliteration of terms used in the text follows that of the Tamil Lexicon, University of Madras. To simplify the reading, the plural endings (kaḷ ou ṅkaḷ) have been omitted. []

North Indian Scripts & South Indian Kings

In his recently published கவின்மிகு சோழர் கலைகள் = Masterpieces of Chola Art (Chennai: Tamil Arts Academy, 2011), R. Nagaswamy provides illustrations of Cōḻa coins dated to the 10th and 11th c. They bear Sanskrit legends, some in Grantha script (fig. 200a, 200c), others in Nāgarī script (see fig. 199a, 199b, 199c, 200b). Among the latter, we find “Uttamacolaḥ” for Uttamacōḻa (r. 969-985), “Śrī-Rājarājaḥ” for  Rājarāja I (r. 985-1014) and “Śrī-Rājendraḥ” for Rājendra I (r. 1012-1044). Continue reading

Regionalism & Cosmopolitism

“Regionalism and Cosmopolitanism: South India” is the research blog of its namesake, a thematic workshop in the Centre for South Asian Studies (Centre d’études de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud, CEIAS, UMR 8564, CNRS-EHESS, Paris). Its object is the study of the South Indian region over the long term with a multidisciplinary approach (history, anthropology, geography, philology). Its aim is to contribute to the description of the special features and shared traits of this regional culture, which, throughout its history, has been submitted to a bi-directional movement of cosmopolitanism and regionalism.