Event — IIAS Lunch Lecture

Digging Deeper: The Manuscript History of the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita

A Lunch Lecture by Chiara Livio, Research Fellow at IIAS with a fellowship provided by the J. Gonda Foundation of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

This lecture will take place in the IIAS Conference room from 11:00 a.m. -  12:00 p.m. 


The Lecture

The Śrīkaṇṭhacarita is a Sanskrit court poem (mahākāvya) composed by Maṅkha in 12th-century Kashmir. The poem consists of 25 cantos (sargas) and narrates god Śiva's confrontation with the demons of Tripura. However, the narration is limited to a few cantos, and the long descriptions (varṇanas) allow us to showcase Maṅkha's poetic skills and historical insight.

The text and its commentary, by Jonarāja, were initially published in the Kāvyamālā series in 1887. Since then, numerous scholars such as Bhatt (1973), Mandal (1991), Slaje (2015), Obrock (2015), and Gomez (2016), studied the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita, but the poem was never critically edited or fully translated.

At this Lunch Lecture by Chiara Livio, we will explore how to piece together the history of the manuscripts of the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita, starting by delving into the process of untangling information from the catalogues and discussing the challenges involved in the lack of a shared vocabulary to describe these manuscripts.

To provide a glimpse into her research at IIAS on the fascinating history of the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita manuscripts, Chiara will share some new insights gathered about the movement of some copies within and outside of India, and point out some instances of scribal poetic expression.

The Speaker

Chiara Livio is a Gonda Fellow at the IIAS in Leiden. She obtained her PhD at Sapienza University of Rome in 2020 with a dissertation on the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita by Maṅkha. Afterwards, she collaborated as a Postdoc with the University of Bologna (ERC Project Shivadharma), where she contributed both to bridging the domains of Sanskrit and Digital Humanities and to the study of the production of Śaiva Kāvya in South India, focusing on the critical edition of an unpublished commentary to the sixth section of Utprekṣāvallabha's Bhikṣāṭanakāvya.