Indologist confirms maize in ancient sculptures

schlaf at schlaf at
Tue Oct 20 07:28:50 EST 1998

In article <mcculloch.2.60.362BE1C6 at>,
  mcculloch.2 at (Hu McCulloch) wrote:
> Oscar Schlaf writes,
> >In article <mcculloch.2.59.36276C7C at>,
> >  mcculloch.2 at (Hu McCulloch) wrote:
> >>
> >> Oscar Schlaf writes, concerning Yuri's comment on my 10/13
> >> review of Shakti M Gupta's 1996 book _Plants in Indian Temple
> >> Art,_


>  I wasn't aware (though it's possible) that
> Gupta said anything about maize in these earlier works --
> I included them merely because they
> establish her expertise as an Indologist.

 She mentioned it in passing mainly in refrence to the site at Kaundinyapura.

   Did she, and if so did
> Mangelsdorf (1974) really reply to her?

 Not that I'm aware of.

> Who's Anderson?

  Prof. Edgar Anderson, teaches at Iowa State University, and wrote
"Corn Before Colombus"

> >> [snip]
> >> > Yawn.....See what a two non-European non-American Hindus had to say about
> >> >the "Maize statues":
> >>
> >> > Payak, M.M., and Sachan, J.K.S.
> >> > 1993 "Maize Ears Not Sculpted in 13th Century Somnathpur
> >> >         Temple in India." Economic botany. APR 01 1993, vol. 47
> >> >        no. 2, P. 202->
> >>
> >> While it is true that Johannessen and Parker are neither Indian nor Hindu
> >> nor experts on Hindu temple art (apart from what they have picked up in
> >> their search for maize), the significance of Gupta's book is that she
> >> is an Indian,
> > Nationality really doesn't matter, least to me.
> Oscar brought up nationality and religion as credentials for Payak and
> Sachan.

 No Mr. Kuchinsky brought it up, and continously brings it up on a number of
 Any scientist that states data and/or opinions that go against his theories
are labeled racist Eurocentrics.. I was merely pointing out for the benefit of
Mr. Kuchinsky that Payak & Sachan weren't Europeans, so as to head of Mr.
Kuchinsky's tired old arguement, least that particular one.


> unlike Payak and Sachan, she has written extensively on the subject.)

 On the subject of pre-Columbian Maize no she hasn't. On the subject of
Hindu Mythology, yes.

> [snip]
> > Payak & Sachan are biologists, Gupta does not share thier expertise on
> >Maize, nor is she a linguist, nor a historian of trade unlike  Panchamukhi.
> > See:
> >  Panchamukhi, R. S., 1975, Agriculture and Trade in Ancient
> >   Karnataka. Studies in Indian Epigraphy
> Do you have the volume editor's name?  I can't find this in our library.

 A. Ghosh

> [snip]
> >>      Again, Gupta has no problem identifying these objects as
> >> corncobs, despite her exertise on plants in Hindu mythology and
> >> in particular in Indian temple art.
> > Maize doesn't appear in Hindu mythology, any expert could tell you that. :)
> Gupta is an expert on Hindu mythology, yet tells us that maize appears
> in the hand of Mohini, an incarnation of Vishnu, in the Lakshmi
> Narasimha temple, Nugehalli, Karnataka.

 Hindu mythology includes litature made up of thousands of stories in the
Puranas, Jatakas, ect.
  Yet not a one mentions anything resembling maize prior to the 1530s, when
the Portuguese & Spanish brought Maize to India, along with chilis and several
other New World plants.

 Also given the usefulness of maize, one would think it would spread rather
quickly(even asuming it was whiped out later by a blight). And with it's
spread one would think to see many representations of it in the art of India
such as the Temple complexes of Sanchi, Mamallapuram, Ellura, Bhubaneswar,
Konark, ect. ect.  But it is totally abscent from temple art & texts. It is
one statue against literally millions, when it comes to Maize being
represented in Hindu mythology.

> >Even if it did appear under a differant name, one would think at least a few
> >physical descriptons of it would appear, along with pictures of it.
> Johannessen and Parker and Gupta have documented plenty of
> ancient pictures of it, carved in stone.

 The majority of objects could be as easily interpeted as any number of other
fruits/vegtables.  Johannessen & Parker aren't experts in Hindu architecture
in any event & Gupta touches very briefly on the subject in seems to be more
familar with written mythology

> > Why haven't any corncobs radio-carbon dated to the time been found?
> Good point, but my suspicion is that archaeologists have simply dismissed
> all corncobs they have found as obviously (indeed, diagnostically) post-
> Columbian.

 It's common practice to test all organic materials found at digs,
irreguardless of personal ideas. So none haven't been found yet, for some odd
reasons none have been tested, or Mr. Kuchinsky's theory of a conspiracy on
the part of "Eurocentric" archaeologists tring to cover up the truth.....

> > Why is there no mention in any Indian text of the time of the plant(or any
> >the other New World ones)?
> We don't necessarily know what name maize would have gone by.  I'd like to
> know in which texts, if any, muktaphala is mentioned.  This is supposed to be
> a Sanskrit name, and so presumably it exists in texts, not in oral traditions.

 I believe it goes back all the way to the Mahabharata. But given the 1500 -
1000 BC, date for the text, I doubt it's refering to Maize.

> According to Gupta, the chili pepper (Capsicum annuum Linn.) is mentioned
> in the Siva Purana and the Vamana Purana, circa 6th-8th c AD.

 Again lack of botantical evidence and the current word for chili
peppers(Capsicums) in India  is  Achar, derived from Spanish rendering of
the Aztec word for chili peppers Aji'.
  Also the Brahmin Khema Sharmin, who collected various refrences of food
from local tradition & the Vedas & Upanishads in the 8th cen., makes no
mention of chili peppers. Cumin, White Pepper, Black Pepper, Horse Radishes,
Cardamon, and various mustards in another matter.

> > Why isn't there any mention of voyages to or from the New World prior to
> >1500ad?
> Beats me.   Why is there no mention in Indian chronicles of
> the invasion of Alexander the Great?

 There is.  Alexander, & the local sucessor kingdom of Bactria is mentioned
in Mauryan Histories.

  (There is none,
> according to _The Splendor that Was India_.)

Alexander invaded the Indus Valley, not the Gangetic Plains. And many to this
day don't consider the Indus as part of India. Just ask Pakistan. :)

> There was a Moghul invasion that disrupted the continuity of
> Indian culture.

 The Moghuls didn't disrupt the continutiy of India, since India had waves of
invaders & various Dynasties like China.  The Kushans, the Sakas(Scythians),
The white huns, The Muslim Arabs, The Turks, The Mongols, the Afghans, The
Persians, ect.

  Perhaps that had something to do with it.
> > Why & how would the East Indian sailors go all the way across the Pacific?
> Why would the crossing have to have been across the Pacific?  The Atlantic
> is at least as good a bet.
>   And the crossers could have been Chinese,
> African, or even the Americans themselves.

 Then one gets into a lack of evidence for the Chinese,Americans, & Africans

 On the other hand, Indians
> did get to Madagascar and Indonesia, so they are good candidates.

 The East Indians didn't get to Western Africa, Australia, or any part of
Pacificia though.

> > Why would the East Indians end up with Maize, but not The Polynesians or
> >Maylasians would would be first on any presumable trade route between the
> >new World & South India?
> Magellan completely missed Polynesia, and he crossed the Pacific.

 No he didn't. He spotted several islands without stopping at them.  Spain's
claim for the Marianas & Guam stem from Magellan's voyage, among other things.
  I suggest you break out the old history books...

> [snip]
> >> >We hold that these temple sculptures
> >> >do not represent maize or its ear but an imaginary fruit bearing pearls
> >> >in Sanskrit as "Muktaphala"
> >>
> >> Muktaphala literally means "pearl-fruit".  My hunch here is that this was
> >> an an ancient word for maize.
> >> What better name for maize than pearl-fruit?
> > Why the name Maize or Musukin Jola, :)  The question is, why exactly would
> >the basic word for a plant change so dramatically?
> A survey of American grocery stores would, by this logic, demonstrate that
> maize is unknown in America today, because there are no packages of "maize".
> Shelves and shelves of "corn", but no "maize".

 Maize appears in every book about "corn" however.

    So maybe Makkai/
> Mokka Jona used to be Muktaphala, and before that something entirely
> different.

 Unlikly & unsupported.  "Pearls of Wisdom" doesn't sound like a common food

> > "A witty quote proves nothing" - Voltaire
>    "Du [Voltaire] bist ein Esel.
>      -- Friedrich der Zweite"

 "Meinungen Friedrich sind nicht witty also Mittel sogar
  kleiner dann nichts...,"

                                          ---Oscar Schlaf---

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