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What's On

What's On

The copper plates from Kollam: Using a 9th century legal document to explore the medieval Indian Ocean World

6th January 2014, 10:00 to 27th April 2014, 17:00, Oriental Museum

6th January - 27th April
This exhibition focuses on a set of copper plates which are a multi-lingual legal document, inscribed at the port of Kollam in present-day Kerala in 849 CE. In South Asia, even until very recently, legal documents were inscribed onto copper sheets. Known as copper plate grants, these are one of the main sources for early and medieval Indian history.

The image shows three of the 9th century copper plates from Kollam. Photograph of the plates reproduced courtesy of M. Raghava Varier and Kesavan Veluthat with kind permission of His Grace the Most Reverend Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan, Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, and His Holiness Basileus Marthoma Paulose II Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan, The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

Although the Kollam plates have been known to European scholars since the early 19th century, they are so complex to read that they had never previously been studied as a single document.

This interdisciplinary project undertook the first holistic study of this exceptional source, using it as a starting point for exploring the medieval Indian Ocean world.

The exhibition is touring around a number of universities in the UK, US and India. The exhibition consists of four pop-up banners and a leaflet that visitors can take away with them.

Contact oriental.museum@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.

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