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A Buddhist Foundation in Śārdīysa

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A New Interpretation of the Schøyen Copper Scroll

image of Indo-Iranian Journal

The article adduces reasons in support of the view that the famous Schøyen Copper Scroll does not come from Afghanistan (Bactria), as maintained by its editor Gudrun Melzer, but belongs to the land south of the Hindu Kush. The donation of a Buddhist Stūpa, recorded in the scroll, was officially made by the Devaputra King of Tālagāna, which may have been a place in the Panjab. It is argued, however, that this pious foundation was organized in particular by his Queen, who is said to have been the daughter of the King of Sārada. The first person speaking in the last 7 verses of the inscription may be identified as this Queen of Tālagāna, who speaks of her homecountry, indicating that the donated Stūpa was erected in the land of Sārada. The village in which the Stūpa was erected is called Śārdīysa. This village, it is argued, can be identified with the present-day village of Śārdi in the Neelum Valley of Kashmir. This region of Kashmir was controlled by the Hūṇa (Alchon) king Mehama, under whose rule the foundation is said to have taken place. The Alchon kings Khīṅgīla and Toramāna may have been mentioned in the scroll on account of their control over Gandhāra and the Panjab, in which the donor institution of Tālagāna was situated. The fourth Alchon king mentioned in the scroll, Javūkha, probably reigned in the Swat Valley. These four Alchon kings formed a confederacy, well-known from their common coinage. The scroll evinces that they were involved in the patronage of Buddhism.

Affiliations: 1: British Museum, London


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