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Celebrating the Life

April 15, 2014 - 3:46pm

 The University of Texas Libraries will host a scholarly presentation on documents that shed light on maritime trade in the medieval Indian Ocean world.

Professor Donald Davis from the Department of Asian Studies will talk about an extraordinary set of copper plates surviving from the 9th century that has become important to the understanding of the movement of people, goods and ideas across South Asia and the Indian Ocean region, challenging our conceptions of geographic areas and boundaries.

Davis will discuss collaborative research on the plates that comprise 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, important legal documents were often inscribed onto copper sheets

The talk takes place at noon on Wednesday, April 23, in the UFCU Student Learning Commons in the Perry-Castañeda Library, and is free and open to the public.

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 until a multidisciplinary team of thirty scholars from ten different countries collaborated on new interpretations. The research findings on the inscriptions will be published in a volume by Primus Press in 2015.

Davis’ talk accompanies an exhibit of four large free-standing printed banners on the Kollam Plates—funded by a grant from the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council by De Montfort University in Leicester, England, in collaboration with the British Museum—that is on loan to The University of Texas at Austin through May 2. 


For more information about this and all University of Texas Libraries news releases, please contact the current Communications Director, Travis Willmann, at or (512) 495-4644.

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