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Tamrashasana (Copper Grant)

c. Late 6th - 7th century
Artist/maker unknown, Indian
In ancient India, texts were written on cloth, bark, or palm leaves. When a more permanent record was required, writing was carved into stone or metal. From at least the fourth century, permanent records of royal gifts and property transactions were inscribed on flat sheets of copper called a tamrashasana (literally copper grant or edict). A tamrashasana can be a single sheet or multiple sheets held together with a ring to which a cast royal seal is often affixed. Especially in southern India, the pages of these copper "books" were long and narrow, imitating the horizontal, palm leaf pages of a pothi. Like the covers of a pothi, the front and back pages of the tamrashasana were free of text. These permanent copper records were usually given to the grantee and buried at a relevant spot, such as on the boundary of the granted land. The original impermanent record, from which the copper sheets were copied, was kept in the royal archive.

Object Details

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