File:6th-century Brihat Samhita of Varahamihira, 1279 CE Hindu text palm leaf manuscript, Pratima lakshana, Sanskrit, Nepalaksara script, folio 1 talapatra from a Buddhist monastery, 1v, 2r 2v leaves.jpg

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English: Brhatsamhita, also called Brihat samhita, is an encyclopedic Hindu text by Varahamihira dated to late 5th-century or early 6th-century CE (see Doris Srinivasan, Many Heads, Arms, and Eyes, Brill Academic, pp. 245-246). The text is in verse and contains more than a hundred chapters. The verses include topics such as planetary movements, the then existing theories on architecture, temples, eclipses, timekeeping, astrology, seasons, cloud formation, rainfall, agriculture, gemology, and many other topics. Chapters 57-60 in particular is notable for the details it provides on harmonic ratio specifications for the design of pratima (murti, statues, idols, pratimalakshana), the ratio and design of Hindu temples (dimensions of various mandapas, garbhagriya, doorways), and the relative proportions for the pratima, reliefs, pillars, spire and other temple features with respect to the overall dimensions of the temples. The pratimalaksana in particular exists in all major Indian scripts, though the text language is Sanskrit.

The text was influential not only to the Hindus, but to Buddhism and Jainism as evidenced by its manuscripts copied, preserved and discovered in the Buddhist, Hindu and Jain monasteries and temples. The specifications given in this and other Indian arts and sculpture text appears to have been historically followed on the Indian subcontinent in all three traditions.

The above picture is of a few talapatra leaves of Chapter 57–59 of Brhat Samhita manuscript preserved in a Buddhist monastery in Nepal. It was purchased by Daniel Wright in September, 1875 CE in Nepal. This manuscript is now preserved at the Cambridge University Library, UK (MS Add.1706). The palm leaf manuscript is dated to 1279 CE (399 Nepala year then prevalent, per its colophon). The manuscript is artistically written and appears stylish, but the copying was very faulty. Its errors include spelling mistakes in Sanskrit, missing syllables and other content errors, probably because the scribe was relying on the recitation of another Sanskrit manuscript written in a different Indian script he or she was not fluent in.

Language: Sanskrit

Script: Nepalaksara

The photo above is of a 2D artwork from the text that was itself authored more than 1,500 years ago, and a manuscript that was purchased before 1899 CE (and produced prior to its purchase). Therefore Wikimedia Commons PD-Art licensing guidelines apply. Any rights I have as a photographer is herewith donated to wikimedia commons under CC 4.0 license.
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Author Ms Sarah Welch

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current12:30, 30 October 2018Thumbnail for version as of 12:30, 30 October 20182,016 × 1,560 (3.74 MB)Ms Sarah Welch (talk | contribs)User created page with UploadWizard

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