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Mudrā, muddā Author(s): Ananda K. Coomaraswamy Source: Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 48 (1928), pp.

279-281 Published by: American Oriental Society Stable URL: . Accessed: 20/10/2011 20:55
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in ZDMG." ROLANDG. 46. as reading in distinction from writing. which. MudrJ. however. 247) means script. and we know from other sources that in early India a sign language of the hands was considered an art or accomplishment with which an educated person should be familiar. This view seems to me very far-fetched and quite implausible. 1892. is entirely intelligible: "(those not tending cattle. and not by swarms of stars even (is the darkness driven off). = .) of whom not by the good deeds (is it prevailed). and there is a likelihood that corruption has crept in. a rendering mudr= "sign language " or " hand gesture " is appropriate to all the passages of the Milindapanho in question. although in it the implied verb comes first. I wish to suggest that the Avestan passage also contains a change of voice. or when cited with lekhA. pp. The difficulties then disappear. was altered to agree formally with the second line. which the nominative with the expressed verb follows. The second line can easily be justified by supplying tamo hanyate or tamo hatam: "One moon drives off the darkness. for which there is some manuscript authority. has an elaborate article entitled Mudra Schrift (oder Lesekunst) ?. and we have the following English phrasing. SBI 35. Otto Francke. 91. it would never have occurred to anyone familiar either with Indian dramatic technique or with Indian iconography. the supplying is more difficult. the interpretation of the Sinhalese commentator quoted in SBE 35. University of Pennsylvania. in which he tries to prove that muddd in the Milindapanfha (where it must be confessed the word has been unsuccessfully translated by Rhys Davids. though awkward. mudda Dr. p. Perhaps the nominative miirkhasatany api. 91. note (hastamudra S'astraya) is at once correct and intelligible. but the evil deeds prevail. 6." In the first line. As a matter of fact.Brief Notes 279 manuscript warrant. and he draws some far-reaching conclusions. in lists of the sippts. KENT. To make assurance doubly sure we have a Jataka passage in. On the basis of the change of voice in the second line of this stanza.

80-82. M. 329. seeing a woman suitable to be his wife. is precisely " empty".. So it is evident that the Bodhisattva was already using an established and conventional sign language of the hands." raised.. must have been based on a natural and spontaneous language of gesture. 215. p. The Ocean of Story (Katha-saritsagara). Folk-lore. Indian Antiquary. p. Knowles. VI. p. 392. Village Folk-Tales of.? (often called vitarka) can be observed in the course of a conversation. which is the same as hand hand (pataka The outspread " husband. Tawney's translation. Parker. Vetdlapdficavihiiatt. vydkhyana mud. this conventional sign language of the hands.. FolkTalts of Kashnmir. 364) we find the following (I quote the quite satisfactory rendering of Cowell and Rouse): The Bodhisattva. by means of formal gesture. 50. p. e. 235. Indian Fairy Tales. g. Needless to say.280 Brief Notes which the term is illustrated by examples. I.. cited by K. III. She understood that he was asking whether she had a husband. as an art or accomplishment. Vimdnavatthut-atthakathi. 208. the thumb with but musti the hand. Mitra in . 312 (a note on the language of gesture). 343. 44.' So standing afar off he clenched his fist (mutthi&). which must have dealt with the expression of ideas. 61. In Jdtaka 546 (Cowell's translation. Swynnerton. books (see. 207. II. Kath7a Sarit SAgara. pp. 47. 24. are mentioned as early as in Panini. in It need only be remarked that in cabhitnaya of the sikhara meanings the of one 30) p. Ceylon. pp. N. 30. I will ask her by hand gesture (hatthamudd)ya) and if she be wise she will understand. whenever a point is made. Simla Village Tales. pp. Nata-sUtras. Primitive Cultaureof India. Romantic Tales from the Panjab uith Indian Nigkts' Entertainment. e. 209. reflected. I append a list of some other references to the language of gesture: Dracott." which would not be inapplicable to the case of a woman without a husband. pp. p. and this is what muddc. mean to of the abhinaiyabooks) can well be understood the nearest meaning given in the Abhinaya Darpana is " having no refuge. 46.pp. p. C. " ' Whether she be unwed or not I do not know. Mirror of my Gesture. and spread out her hand " to signify that she had not a husband. I. always means. g. p. 220. whether in actual use by living persons. T. Hodson. Stokes. or in the more limited range of iconographic usage. story 1.. Penzer. etc. 22. even today the common mudras of the hieratic art. 21. hand. II.

and turns alternately to right and left. The Kalts. XIII. on the walls of the Mallikarjuna temple at Srisailam (reproduced in A. explained tentatively as " reader of symbolic gestures " though it must be admitted the sense here seems to require some kind of enumerator. L. 1926. or rods. ANANDA K. vat'hanartin. p.. 1917-18). p. This is a well-known popular (deR) dance. speaks of a "staff dance" (dandardsa). 20 (xii). and caturasratva The Karpfiramafijarl. 6. I do not know of any older representation of this instrument... Pandit Hira Lal. to strike them against those of her neighbour. Madras. First as regards the staff dance. S. and by the fact that it is frequently represented in decorative temple sculpture. F. cited by llodson. in the edition and translation. but a possible connection with the varhsanartin of the gatapatha Brdhmana is suggested. R. 67. A. In the latter example. Dani0ara. I. Another instance is afforded by the Sola dance of the Gonds and Baigas. IV. Southern Circle. That this dance also found favor as a spectacle in more sophisticated circles is shown by the Karp-dramanjarl reference. which are used to keep time when dancing. 2. 267. Primitive Culture of India. Woodward. one of the musicians of the chorus is playing a sdrangi. There are good examples. 4. p. . found all over India. note 1.Brief Notes 281 JBORS. or sticks. p. this is not explained by Konow and Lanman. A. both of fifteenth century date. p. Museum of Fine Arts. 161.. COOMABASWAMY. 205. Harvard Oriental Series. Dramas and Dramatic Dances of non-European Peoples. p. 280. 12. and on the walls of the Mallesvara temple near Bezwadd. says that in the Nagpur District the Danddhar (sic) dance is sometimes performed as part of the Krsna LIla "taking its name from Danda. 18. 11. muddika." Actually. Boston. Vol. 1911. I have seen it also in Ceylon. Venkatasubbiah. each dancer has two such short sticks. Kindred Sayings. The vachs'anartinr of gatapatha Brahmana. IV. quoted in Ridgeway. though it is almost invariably used in playing dance music at the present day. and in Tamil designated kolattam.

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