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pillar

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1880.21

  • Description

    Pillar fragment. Curved horizontal fragment of a burnished sandstone pillar engraved with part of Major Pillar Edict VI of the Mauryan king Aśoka.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 3rdC BC (mid)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 12.2 centimetres
    • Width: 32.6 centimetres
    • Depth: 7.6 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Brahmi
      • Inscription Position

        across outer face
      • Inscription Language

        Prakrit
      • Inscription Transliteration

        1) ---- (ū)pagamane se me mokhyamate [|] saḍu ---
        2) ---- (i)site me iyaṃ dhaṃam li(pi) li ---
      • Inscription Translation

        The fragmentary text, of which six copies are known, is referred to as Major Pillar Edit VI. The portion preserved in the British Museum is part of the last two lines, the full translation of which is as follows: 'All sects are honoured by me in many ways, but I regard that to be my principal duty (viz. meeting the people personally). This dharma edict was caused to inscribed when I had been anointed twenty-six years'.
      • Inscription Comment

        The words 'this dharma edict' (iyaṃ dhaṃam lipi) are clearly preserved in the second line.
  • Bibliography

    • Zwalf 1985 1 bibliographic details
    • MacGregor 2010 32 bibliographic details
    • Falk 2006 pp. 181-83 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    Buddhism: Art and Faith (BM, 1985)
    2010-2011, London, BM/BBC, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'

  • Subjects

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1880

  • Acquisition notes

    The pillar was originally erected at Meerut in the 3rd century BCE and removed to Delhi in the mid-fourteenth century by Fīrūz Shāh Tughluq who incorporated it into a royal palace. The pillar was thrown down and broken into pieces in the reign of the late Mughal king Farrukhsiyar (CE 1713-19) by an explosion of a power magazine in the palace. Those inscribed portions that survived were subsequently sawn into sections and sent to the Asiatic Society, Calcutta. Some were retrieved in 1867 by order of the British Government and an attempt made to reassemble the pillar on the Ridge at Delhi. The British Museum fragment appears to have left India before 1867; it was held in the India Museum, London, until 1880 when the collections were transferred.

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    1880.21

Pillar fragment. Curved horizontal fragment of a burnished sandstone pillar engraved with part of Major Pillar Edict VI of the Mauryan king Asoka.

Pillar fragment. Curved horizontal fragment of a burnished sandstone pillar engraved with part of Major Pillar Edict VI of the Mauryan king Asoka.

Image description

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Object reference number: RRI1302

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