Indologist confirms maize in ancient sculptures

Hu McCulloch hmccullo at
Sun Oct 18 13:54:15 EST 1998

Sid Harth <gautamasidharth at> writes, concerning
my review of Shakti M. Gupta's 1996 book, _Plants in Indian Temple 
Art_, which confirms the presence of  maize and 5 other 
New World plants in Pre-Columbian Indian temple 

[Payak and Sachan had written, as quoted by Oscar Schlaf]
>> > >We hold that these temple sculptures
>> > >do not represent maize or its ear but an imaginary fruit bearing pearls known
>> > >in Sanskrit as "Muktaphala"
[I had replied]
>> > Muktaphala literally means "pearl-fruit".  My hunch here is that this was
>> > an an ancient word for maize.

>    Patently false. "muktaaphaLa," is another name for custard apple, "siitaaphaLa."

Interesting. Is there a standard source for this?  

Custard apple is one of the other New World crops Gupta
finds in Pre-Columbian temple sculptures, so if this is what
is depicted, it would equally indicate some transoceanic
contacts.  Nevertheless, the sculptures Gupta and Johannessen
show look much more like maize than custard apple.
(see eg the one I link on my page,
  <> )

-- Hu McCulloch
   mcculloch.2 at

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