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An Inscribed Silver Buddhist Reliquary of the Time of King Kharaosta and Prince Indravarman

Richard Salomon
Journal of the American Oriental Society
Vol. 116, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1996), pp. 418-452
DOI: 10.2307/605147
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/605147
Page Count: 35
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An Inscribed Silver Buddhist Reliquary of the Time of King Kharaosta and Prince Indravarman
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Abstract

An unusual silver vessel datable to the late first century B. C. bears six Kharoṣṭhī inscriptions which record its successive ownership by the Indo-Scythian rulers Kharaosta and Indravarman and its dedication by the latter as a Buddhist reliquary. The vessel is in two parts, a base and a cover, the latter topped by the figure of a long-horned ibex. In form it is wholly untypical of Buddhist reliquaries and evidently was originally a wine goblet, similar to others found in Gandhāra, which was reused by Indravarman as a reliquary. Its form and function suggest underlying cultural and artistic motifs of Scythian and local origin that were assimilated into Gandhāran art and culture. The inscriptions provide important new information on the history of the Apraca dynasty of Bajaur, including the names of several previously unknown persons, and on their relationship with the Indo-Scythian king Kharaosta. The connection with the latter raises chronological questions which call into doubt previously established notions about him and also seem to require a considerably earlier date for the Mathurā lion capital inscriptions, in which he is mentioned twice, than is usually attributed to them.

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