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Heroic ShāktismThe Cult of Durgā in Ancient Indian Kingship$
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Bihani Sarkar

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266106

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266106.001.0001

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Patronage, the Civilizational Process and the Spread of Heroic Śāktism (c. 7th to 11th Century)

Patronage, the Civilizational Process and the Spread of Heroic Śāktism (c. 7th to 11th Century)

Chapter:
(p.115) Chapter 4 Patronage, the Civilizational Process and the Spread of Heroic Śāktism (c. 7th to 11th Century)
Source:
Heroic Shāktism
Author(s):

Bihani Sarkar

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197266106.003.0005

One of the most important ways whereby rulership was affirmed was by the donation of gifts and largesse (dāna) by a ruler to a deity of power, which tied kingship to the divine and in turn financially supported religious establishments. Looking at epigraphic evidence, this chapter assesses the forms of patronage received by the cult through dedicated worship in royal lineages, the establishment or funding of temples and the commissioning of statuary in the period between the 6th and the 12th centuries. Examining the donors and major Durgā sites receiving patronage, the chapter pays special attention to uncovering specific networks of patronage developing in Maharashtra, Thanjavur, Bengal, Himachal and in Kannauj whereby the worship of Durgā and her affiliated deities gained greater popularity and was institutionalized. These networks of patronage show that philanthropic support was provided to the cult of the goddess not just by ruling members of government but also by private individuals and village associations, indicating the broad devotional basis acquired by the cult by the 12th century CE.

Keywords:   Rāṣṭrakūṭa, Gurjara-Pratīhāra, Kannauj, Coḷa, Pāla, Chamba, epigraphy, patronage

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