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Thursday, October 17, 2013


The Indian Analyst


 

South Indian Inscriptions


 

EPIGRAPHIA INDICA

No. 21.- INSCRIPTIONS AROUND CROSSES IN SOUTH INDIA.

BY E. W. WEST, PH.D. ; ENGLAND.

A pamphlet, by the late Dr. A. C. Burnell, M.C.S., On some Pahlavi Inscriptions in South India, was printed at the Mission Press, Mangalore, in 1873. It was reviewed, independently, by Professor Hang of Munich in a supplement to the Allgemeine. Zeitung of 29th January 1874, and by myself in the London Academy of the 24th of the same month. Both reviewers differed from the author, and from each other, in the translations they proposed. And the contents of the pamphlet were reprinted in the Indian Antiquary of November, 1874 (Vol. III. pp. 308─ 316), with some additions, including the reviewers’ translations.

The illustrations in Burnell’s pamphlet included a very correct view of the old Cross in the Church on St. Thomas’s Mount, near Madras, with the Pahlavi inscription around it, drawn from a photograph ; and also a much more imperfect sketch of the smaller of the two Crosses in the Valiyapaḷḷi Church at Kôṭṭayam in Travancore, from which it appeared probable that the Pahlavi inscription at Kôṭṭayam was practically the same as that at the Mount.

From this pamphlet and its illustrations, the following description of these Crosses was given in the Academy :─

‘ The Mount Cross was found by the Portuguese, about A.D. 1547, whilst digging amongst the ruins of former Christian buildings, for the foundations of the chapel over whose altar the Cross was afterwards fixed. It is sculptured upon a slab of the ordinary trap-rock, about four feet high, and three wide ; the extremity of each limb of the Cross is ornamentally enlarged, and the lower limb, which is not much longer than the others, stands upon a three-stepped pedestal, between two petal-like carvings which rise from the same pedestal, so that the Cross appears to be standing in the section of a cup, or expanded flower ; above the upper limb of the Cross a bird hovers head-downwards ; all this is sculptured in relief upon a sunk panel, bounded on each side by a cushion-headed column, like those in the Elephanta cave,

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