Maize and Pinecone?

As images found on statues in karnataka temples People think this perhaps is Maize

Two interesting papers are a nice introduction to the subject.

Some people argue against maize, however this fruit suggested is not as detailed as the sculptures which is more in favour of maize kolbs.

It should also be noted that some of the kolbs on the statue show clear foilage still around the kolb where it is smooth like a real maize kolb.


Arguments against Maize is that it is a citrus namely this one: Matulunga fruit.

“Matulunga fruit. It is citrus fruit in English. Indian origin and used in indian Ayurvedic medicines. Many shilpashastra texts refers this fruit and gives description of this fruit. Number of Hoysala images are shown holding this fruit in their hands. Charaka and Shurutha the great doctors of India and Ayurvedacharys, mention the medicinal use of this fruit.

Few research scholars opine that this is maize (ಮೆಕ್ಕೆ ಜೋಳ or ಗೋವಿನ ಜೋಳ)from America. And they say when it is reached India around 9th century AD, Indian sculptors got attracted and carved maize in the sculptures of Indian deities.

This claim is baseless and no evidence for that. Moreover Indians are not fools to replace Matulunga with Maize. Matulunga represents and symbolizes the progeny and strength. Whereas Maize has no medicinal qualities like citrus fruit.”

Bharathiya vastukala
Shri shalvapille ayyangar

Matulanga Ratna kalasha dharana is the sentence used to describe Maha Ganapathi by a 17 century composer Sri Muthuswamy Deekshithar. He, in turn was influenced by a Dhyana shlokam for Maha Ganapathi given in Silpa Sastra texts.

You would have to check the ayurvedic texts. But in this context it is the attribute of a god. That would be described in the shilpashatras.


The temple where these statues are found:

All the related images to this subject:

A great writeup relating to the subjects with book references noted:

Maize and pine-cone Meluhha hieroglyphs of ancient Indo-Eurasia


Halebid.“Maize breeders in India, China, United States, and Great Britain, who have seen extensive collections of the illustrations, concur…only sculptors with abundant ears of maize as models could have created these illustrations of maize”(Click to enlarge). Photo by Carl L. Johannessen.


‘Maize’ and ‘pine-cone’ are two hieroglyphs depicted, respectively, on Indian sculptures at Somnathpur (Lakshmi, divinity of wealth) and on sculptures and reliefs of Ashur (Nimrud). Rebus readings are evidence of presence of Meluhha speakers in the Ancient Near East who participated in the bronze-age inventions of tin-bronzes and created the writing systems of deploying hieroglyphs together with cuneiform and Indus texts.

Hieroglyphs: kandə ʻpineʼ, ‘ear of maize’. Rebus: kaṇḍa ‘tools, pots and pans of metal’. Rebus: kāḍ ‘stone’. Ga. (Oll.) kanḍ, (S.) kanḍu (pl. kanḍkil) stone (DEDR 1298).

Hieroglyph: Ash. piċ — kandə ʻ pine ʼ, Kt. pṳ̄ċi, piċi, Wg. puċ, püċ (pṳ̄ċ — kəŕ ʻ pine — cone ʼ), Pr. wyoċ, Shum. lyēwič (lyē — ?).(CDIAL 8407). Cf. Gk. peu/kh f. ʻ pine ʼ, Lith. pušìs, OPruss. peuse NTS xiii 229. The suffix –kande in the lexeme: Ash. piċ– kandə ʻ pine ʼ may be cognate with the bulbous glyphic related to a mangrove root: Koḍ. kaṇḍe root-stock from which small roots grow; ila·ti kaṇḍe sweet potato (ila·ti England). Tu. kaṇḍe, gaḍḍè a bulbous root; Ta. kaṇṭal mangrove, Rhizophora mucronata; dichotomous mangrove, Kandelia rheedii. Ma. kaṇṭa bulbous root as of lotus, plantain; point where branches and bunches grow out of the stem of a palm; kaṇṭal what is bulb-like, half-ripe jackfruit and other green fruits; R. candel. (DEDR 1171). Rebus: kaṇḍa ‘tools, pots and pans of metal’.

Hieroglyph: కండె [ kaṇḍe ] kaṇḍe. [Telugu] n. A head or ear of millet or maize. జొన్నకంకి.

Allograph: Kur. kaṇḍō a stool. Malt. kanḍo stool, seat. (DEDR 1179). Rebus:Tu. kandůka, kandaka ditch, trench. Te.  kandakamu id.   Konḍa kanda trench made as a fireplace during weddings. Pe. kanda fire trench. Kui kanda small trench for fireplace. Malt. kandri a pit. (DEDR 1214).

In 1998, Carl Johannessen wrote a remarkable article on the depiction of ‘maize’ cobs on scores of sculptures in India. This article, together with the Ashur hieroglyphs are presented in this note, providing Meluhha rebus readings for both the hieroglyphs and possible allographs in the context of bronze-age metallurgy and writing systems.


The Vatican has honored pine cone by erecting this monument:

Vatican Museum: giant pine cone. Description: Vatican City: Vatican Museum: giant pine cone (gilt bronze, originally a Roman fountain dating from 1st or 2nd century AD) (Cortile della Pigna, Courtyard of the Pine Cone)

[quote] Detail of pine cone. Standard Inscription.Palace of Ashurnasirpal, priest of Ashur, favorite of Enlil and Ninurta, beloved of Anu and Dagan, the weapon of the great gods, the mighty king, king of the world, king of Assyria; son of Tukulti-Ninurta, the great king, the mighty king, king of Assyria, the son of Adad-nirari, the great king, the mighty king of Assyria; the valiant man, who acts with the support of Ashur, his lord, and has no equal among the princes of the four quarters of the world; the wonderful shepherd who is not afraid of battle; the great flood which none can oppose; the king who makes those who are not subject to him submissive; who has subjugated all mankind; the mighty warrior who treads on the neck of his enemies, tramples down all foes, and shatters the forces of the proud; the king who acts with the support of the great gods, and whose hand has conquered all lands, who has subjugated all the mountains and received their tribute, taking hostages and establishing his power over all countries.

When Ashur, the lord who called me by my name and has made my kingdom great, entrusted his merciless weapon to my lordly arms, I overthrew the widespread troops of the land of Lullume in battle. With the assistance of Shamash and Adad, the gods who help me, I thundered like Adad the destroyer over the troops of the Nairi lands, Habhi, Shubaru, and Nirib. I am the king who had brought into submission at his feet the lands from beyond the Tigris to Mount Lebanon and the Great Sea [the Mediterranean], the whole of the land of Laqe, the land of Suhi as far as Rapiqu, and whose hand has conquered from the source of the river Subnat to the land of Urartu.

The area from the mountain passes of Kirruri to the land of Gilzanu, from beyond the Lower Zab to the city of Til-Bari which is north of the land of Zaban, from the city of Til-sha-abtani to Til-sha-Zabdani, Hirimu and Harutu, fortresses of the land of Karduniash [Babylonia], I have restored to the borders of my land. From the mountain passes of Babite to the land of Hashmar I have counted the inhabitants as peoples of my land. Over the lands which I have subjugated I have appointed my governors, and they do obeisance.

I am Ashurnasirpal, the celebrated prince, who reveres the great gods, the fierce dragon, conqueror of the cities and mountains to their furthest extent, king of rulers who has tamed the stiff-necked peoples, who is crowned with splendor, who is not afraid of battle, the merciless champion who shakes resistance, the glorious king, the shepherd, the protection of the whole world, the king, the word of whose mouth destroys mountains and seas, who by his lordly attack has forced fierce and merciless kings from the rising to the setting sun to acknowledge one rule.

The former city of Kalhu [Nimrud], which Shalmaneser king of Assyria, a prince who preceded me, had built, that city had fallen into ruins and lay deserted. That city I built anew, I took the peoples whom my hand had conquered from the lands which I subjugated, from the land of Suhi, from the land of Laqe, from the city of Sirqu on the other side of the Euphrates, from the furthest extent of the land of Zamua, from Bit-Adini and the land of Hatte, and from Lubarna, king of the land of Patina, and made them settle there.

I removed the ancient mound and dug down to the water level. I sank the foundations 120 brick courses deep. A palace with halls of cedar, cypress, juniper, box-wood, meskannu-wood, terebinth and tamarisk, I founded as my royal residence for my lordly pleasure for ever.

Creatures of the mountains and seas I fashioned in white limestone and alabaster, and set them up at its gates. I adorned it, and made it glorious, and set ornamental knobs of bronze all around it. I fixed doors of cedar, cypress, juniper and meskannu-wood in its gates. I took in great quantities, and placed there, silver, gold, tin, bronze and iron, booty taken by my hands from the lands which I had conquered. [unquote]

New York city Art museum. Ashurnasirpal. Kalhu Ear-ring and pendant with a pine cone glyph

Pine cone glyphs adorn the side stools and is atop the ‘altars’ or ‘standards’. [quote]Description: The ‘Garden Party’ relief from the North Palace of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh. This carved stone picture hides a gory secret. King Ashurbanipal and his Queen are enjoying a party in their garden. Can you see the Queen sitting down facing her husband? A harpist on the left plays music while they eat and drink. But in the tree beside him is the severed head of King Teumann, a local ruler who had tried to fight against Ashurbanipal. The picture was on the wall in the royal palace, to warn any visitors not to try the same thing. It should also be noted that depictions of women are rare in Assyrian art. (Source: British Museum websiteDate: c.645 BCE [unquote]

Assyrian Period, reign of King Ashurnasirpal 11 (883 — 859 BCE) Alabastrous Limestone Height 110.5 cm. Width 183 cm. Depth 6.4 — 9.6 cm. Miho Museum

Assyrian) alabaster Height: 236.2 cm (93 in). Width: 135.9 cm (53.5 in). Depth: 15.2 cm (6 in). This relief decorated the interior wall of the northwest palace of King Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud. On his right hand, he holds a pine cone. Examples of reliefs of king ashur-nasir-pal II

The Egyptian Staff of Osiris, dating back to approximately 1224 BC, depicts two intertwining serpents rising up to meet at a pinecone. (Photo: Egyptian Museum, Turin, Italy)

Johannessen, Carl L., Maize diffused to India before Columbus came to America, in D.Y. Gilmore and L.S. McElroy, eds., Across Before Columbus?: Evidence for Transoceanic Contact with the Americas prior to 1492, New England Antiquities Research Association, Edgecomb, Maine, 1998, pp. 109-24.pp.109-124


Maize in Pre-Columbian India

Carl L. Johannessen and Anne Z. Parker, “Maize Ears Sculptured in 12th and 13th Century A.D. India as Indicators of Pre-Columbian Diffusion,” Economic Botany 43 , 1989, 164-80, argue that stone carvings of maize ears exist in at least three pre-Columbian Hoysala stone block temples near Mysore, Karnataka state, India. Their article provides 16 photographs of a few of the sculptures in question.

Johannessen has now made three large-scale color photographs available online at (new URL, 10/06), with a brief discussion These photos reveal considerable detail that is lost in the reduced scale black and white reproductions that appeared in the journal article. His photos are the source of the thumbnails on appearing this site, and may be viewed full size by clicking below:

Further photographs appear in his 1998 article, “Maize Diffused to India before Columbus Came to America” (see references below).

In his 1998 article “Pre-Columbian American Sunflower and Maize Images in Indian Temples: Evidence of Contact between Civilizations in India and America” (see references below), Johannessen goes on to cite several appearances of the sunflower, another New World crop, in pre-Columbian Indian temple sculptures. To view Figure 1 from that article, enlarged and in color on his website, click on the thumbnail below:

The following review has been published in the Midwest Epigraphic Journal, vol. 12/13, 1998-99, pp. 43-44.
An earlier version appeared in 1998 on the newsgroup sci.archaeology. 

Indologist Confirms Maize in Ancient Sculptures

by J. Huston McCulloch

Indologist and Ethnobotanist Shakti M. Gupta of Delhi University confirms the presence of maize and at least five other New World plants in pre-Columbian temple sculptures in India in her new book, Plants in Indian Temple Art (B.R. Publishing Corp, Delhi, 1996. ISBN 81-7018-883-0).

Maize had previously been reported in several Hoysala temples by Carl Johannessen and Anne Z. Parker (“Maize Ears Sculptured in 12th and 13th Century AD India as Indicators of Pre-Columbian Diffusion,” Economic Botany vol. 43, 1989, pp. 164-180). Photos of a few of these sculptures are online at, and

Vocal critics of Johannessen and Parker have argued that it was their lack of understanding of the intricacies of Hindu iconography that prevented them from realizing that what is depicted in these sculptures is in fact not maize, but rather something else – variously muktaphala (lit. “pearl-fruit”, an imaginary fruit made of pearls), some exotic tropical fruit, or even, by one account, the Kalpavrksha, a mythical wish-granting tree (!).

Gupta’s earlier books, including Plant Myths and Traditions in India (1971), Vishnu and His Incarnations (1974), Legends around Shiva (1979), andFestivals, Fairs, and Fasts of India (1990), establish her as an authority on Indian mythology and, in particular, the role of plants in Indian mythology. Now, she has provided a definitive text identifying some 70 varieties of plants depicted in Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist temple art in India.

Prof. Gupta writes,

Different varieties of the corn cob [Zea mays Linn.] are extensively sculpted but only on the Hindu and Jain temples of Karnataka. Various deities are shown as carrying a corn cob in their hands as on the Chenna Kesava temple, Belur. The straight rows of the corn grains can be easily identified. In the Lakshmi Narasimha temple, Nuggehalli, the eight-armed dancing Vishnu in his female form of Mohini is holding a corn cob in one of her left hands and the other hands hold the usual emblems of Vishnu. …. In the Trikuta basti, Mukhamandapa, Sravanbelgola, Karnataka, a 12th century A.D. sculpture of Ambika Kushmandini sitting on a lotus seat under a canopy of mangoes holds in her left hand a corn cob. Plate 223 depicting a Nayika holding a corn cob in her left hand is from Nuggehalli, Karnataka.

Temples where the sculptures of corn cobs are found are dated 12-13th century A.D. The common belief [!] is that maize originated in Mexico and came to India by the 11th-12th century. By the time these temples were constructed, maize would have been fairly common in India. (p. 176).

Gupta does not stop with maize, but goes on to identify sunflower, pineapple, cashew, custard apple and monstera, all new world species, in pre-Columbian temple art.

She finds Sunflower (Helianthus annuus Linn.), a native of Central and South America, in the Rani Gumpha cave, Udaigiri, 2nd century B.C. (p. 30). Johannessen independently reports sunflower in his article, “Pre-Columbian American Sunflower and Maize Images in Indian Temples: Evidence of Contact between Civilizations in India and America” (in Davis Bitton, ed., Mormons, Scripture and the Ancient World: Studies in Honor of John L. Sorenson, FARMS, Provo UT, 1998).

Pineapple (Ananas cosmosus [Linn.] Merrill), a plant indigenous to Brazil, is, according to Gupta, “clearly depicted” in Udayagiri cave temple, Madhya Pradesh, circa 5th century A.D. (p. 18). Cashew (Anacardium occidentale Linn.), a native of Brazil, is depicted in a Bharhut stupa balustrade relief, circa 2nd century B.C. (p. 17). Gupta finds custard apple (Annona Squamosa Linn.) sculpted at Bharhut, circa 2nd century B.C., and at Kakatiya, Karnataka, 12th century A.D. (pp. 19-20). According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, this plant is native to the New World tropics and Florida. And finally, monstera (Monstera deliciosa Liebm.), also known as split leaf philodendron, a large evergreen climber native to Central America, appears in Hindu and Jain temples in Gujarat and Rajastan from the 11th to 13th centuries (pp. 108-9).

According to Gupta, the chili pepper (Capsicum annuum Linn.) is mentioned in the Siva and Varmana Puranas, circa 6-8th centuries A.D. Unfortunately she does not give page references or indicate the term used for it there, and the only temple carving she has found of it dates to the 17th century A.D. This very important native of Mexico and Latin America deserves further investigation.

The naga lingham, the flower of the South American and West Indian cannonball tree (Couroupita guaianensis Aubl.), was, according to Gupta, “cultivated in India from very early times.” In her timeframe, this would mean very early pre-Columbian times. She notes that it figures into the worship of Shiva at several temples. Nevertheless, the only sculpture of it she shows again dates from the 17th century A.D. This plant also merits further research.

Gupta’s book contains a wealth of evidence for pre-Columbian contacts between the New World and the Old, despite the fact that she is not particularly interested in, or even aware of, the possibility. She does repeatedly reject reports that such-and-such plant was introduced by the Portuguese in the 16th century, but in her conclusion suggests that perhaps plants such as the pineapple and custard apple “were indigenous to India.” Despite the “common belief” (evidently Johannessen and Parker’s) that maize was brought to India from Mexico prior to the construction of the Hoysala temples, she reports that “Maize is also believed to have an Indian origin…” It is my understanding that this is botanically impossible, although it is quite conceivable that maize was present in the subcontinent for many centuries before the Hoysala dynasty, and that distinctively Asian varieties were developed early on.

Despite Gupta’s confirmation of maize in the Hoysala sculptures Johannessen and Parker discuss, she argues that the similar but distinctly squatter objects that appear in earlier sculptures are not maize but rather Citron (Citrus medica var. Limonum of Watt.) or Lemon (Citrus limon [Linn.]), both Old World plants (p. 53). Perhaps so, but it is noteworthy that the “citron” she says is held by a Yaksha in an 8th century A.D. sculpture from Aihole has kernels aligned in maize-like rows. A citron looks like a large lemon with a deeply puckered skin, but the puckering is random, and does not simulate maize kernels as in her very clear photograph.

Unfortunately, Gupta makes no mention of Johannessen and Parker or their predecessors, or of the lively debate that surrounds the “maize ears.” She also makes no mention of “muktaphala,” or “pearl-fruit,” the Sanskrit name said to be associated with these objects. My own hunch is that this was actually a name that was used for maize.

Gupta’s book is a little hard to find in the United States. I had to have the Ohio State University libraries order it specially, and at present it has one of only two copies in the entire Ohiolink university library consortium. At $110 it is a little pricey, but it is informative, attractive and well done. The photos are good but almost all black and white. All the illustrations are well annotated.

The following comments first appeared in 1998 on the newsgroup sci.archaeology. 

Comments on Andrews (1993)

by J. Huston McCulloch

A 1993 article by Jean Andrews, “Diffusion of Mesoamerican Food Complex to Southeastern Europe,” Geographical Review 83: 194-204, is pertinent to the issue of the timing of the introduction maize and other New World crops into the Old World.

Andrews’ purpose is to explain how New World maize, capsicum peppers, beans, squash, and turkeys came to be introduced into Europe in the 16th century from the Turkish domains to the East rather than directly from Iberia, whose navigators had supposedly just discovered the New World for the first time in 1492.

A particularly tight squeeze is the Mexican pepper, Capsicum annuum var annuum. Cortez did not penetrate Mexico until 1519, yet Fuchs’ herbal of 1542 (written as early as 1538) already has it established in Central Europe, presumably through Turkish influence.

This problem was already described in 1958 by E. Anderson, she says, as the “Anatolian Mystery”: “Oddly, the Ottoman Turkish Empire, especially Anatolia, rather than Iberia became a center of diversity for squashes, pumpkins, popcorn, and possibly other American crops…”

Her solution is that the Portuguese, not the Spanish, introduced these crops to the Old World, and then not to Portugal but rather to their African colonies. From there they took them to India, where they became established and eventually passed through Persia or Arabia to Turkey, then to the Balkans, and finally to Central and Western Europe.

She admits this scenario is “improbable” (p. 194, 198, 203), and requires some “remarkably” fast transmission (200). Indeed, any quarterback who carried the ball twice the length of the field to make a touchtown rather than simply step across the line would receive a double Heisman trophy! (Either that or be penalized for Unsportsmanlike Conduct…)

A further problem is that the Portuguese were barred by the Treaty of Tordesillas from the Mesoamerican source of most of these crops. This limitation she dismisses as “more theoretical than real in the early sixteenth century.”

Her principal area of expertise is capsicum peppers. Her solution to the early Turkish possession of the Mexican variety C. annuum var annuum, rather than the West-Indian South American – Brazilian C. chinese, aka aji, is that, contrary to most opinion on the subject, the former must have in fact been present in the West Indes when Columbus arrived.

(Note that early botanists thought that even the aji originated in the Orient, whence C. chinese.)

It seems to me, at least, that a far simpler solution is Johannessen and Parker’s — that there was some contact between India and Mesoamerica before Columbus. This would explain both the sculptured maize ears in India, and miscellaneous evidence of Oriental influence in Mesoam as noted by Michael Coe. At the same time, it would give these crops more time to variegate and spread from Asia into Europe.

If Andrews in 1993 was aware of the 1989 J&P article, she makes no mention of it. She does cite three papers by M.D.W. Jeffreys, upon whose suggestions J&P built, but only as an authority for the presence of maize in Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe as early as 1502. She makes no mention of the fact that Jeffreys firmly believed that maize was present in Africa and/or India ten crucial years before that. The papers she cites do not include his piece in the 1971 Man Across the Sea volume, where he most forcefully makes his case.

New Evidence on Maize in China

Uchibayashi (2005) reports an illustration of maize in a 1505 Chinese herbal entitled Bencao Pinhui Jingyao. He deems it unlikely that maize could have diffused all the way to China in just 13 years after 1492, and hence interprets this as “clear evidence” that maize must have been in China “at least a few decades before 1505.”

Uchibayashi also reports the use of the word yumi (maize) in the poem Youwu zashu, written by Xie Yingfan circa 1368. Two additional references, to yumai-zior corn-silk, appear in works dating to the 15th century, though it could not be ascertained that these were not later additions to the original works.

Uchibayashi (2005), which reports the new finds, is in English. Uchibayashi (2006a) is a Japanese extension of Uchibayashi (2005). Uchibayashi (2006b), also in Japanese, is a survey of earlier work on the pre-Columbian maize issue.


Jean Andrews, “Diffusion of Mesoamerican Food Complex to Southeastern Europe,” Geographical Review 83 (1993): 194-204.

Shakti M. Gupta, Plants in Indian Temple Art, B.R. Publishing Corp, Delhi, 1996. ISBN 81-7018-883-0. See review above.

Carl L. Johannessen, “Indian Maize in the Twelfth Century [AD],” Nature 14 April 1988, p. 587.

Carl L. Johannessen, “Distribution of Pre-Columbian Maize and Modern Maize Names,” in Shue Tuck Wong, ed., Person, Place and Thing: Interpretative and Empirical Essays in Cultural Geography Volume 31 of Geocience and Man . Geoscience Publications, Louisiana State Univ. Dept. of Geography and Anthropology, Baton Rouge, 1992.

Carl L. Johannessen, “Maize Diffused to India before Columbus Came to America,” in D.Y. Gilmore and L.S. McElroy, eds., Across Before Columbus?: Evidence for Transoceanic Contact with the Americas prior to 1492New England Antiquities Research Association, Edgecomb, Maine, 1998, pp. 109-24.

Carl L. Johannessen, “Pre-Columbian American Sunflower and Maize Images in Indian Temples: Evidence of Contact between Civilizations in India and America,”NEARA Journal vol. 32 #1 (Summer 1998), pp. 4 ff., and also in Davis Bitton, ed., Mormons, Scripture and the Ancient World: Studies in Honor of John L. Sorenson, FARMS, Provo UT, 1998.

Carl L. Johannessen and Anne Z. Parker, “Maize Ears Sculptured in 12th and 13th Century A.D. India as Indicators of Pre-Columbian Diffusion,” Economic Botany 43 , 1989, 164-80.

  1. Kumar and J.K.S. Sachan, “Antiquity of maize in India”, inMaize Genetics Cooperation Newsletter1993 (vol. 67), p. 98. Click here for text.

M.M. Payak and J.K.S. Sachan, “‘Maize’ in Somnathpur, an Indian Mediaeval temple,” Nature 27 October 1988, pp. 773-4.

M.M. Payak and J.K.S. Sachan, “Maize Ears Not Sculptured in 13th Century Somnathpur Temple in India,” Economic Botany 47 (2), 1993, pp. 202-5.

Uchibayashi, Masao, “Maize in Pre-Columbian China,” Yakugaku Zasshi (Journal of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan) 125 (7), July 2005, pp. 583-586. In English.

Uchibayashi, Masao, “Maize in Pre-Columbian China Found in Bencao Pinhui Jingyao,” Yakugaku Zasshi (Journal of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan) 126(1), Jan. 2006a, pp. 27-36. Expanded version, in Japanese, of Uchibayashi (2005).

Uchibayashi, Masao, “The Presence of Pre-Columbian Maize in the Old World — An Overview,” Yakugaku Zasshi (Journal of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan) 126 (6), June 2006b, pp. 423-427. In Japanese.

  1. Veena and N. Sigamani, “Do Objects in Friezes of Somnathpur Temple (1268 A.D.) in South India Represent Maize Ears?”Current Science25 Sept. 1991, pp. 395-7. See also fine photo on front cover of issue.

Note that although Sachan’s article with Kumar (1993) provides genetic evidence for the antiquity of maize in India, thus independently corroborating the Johannessen and Parker hypothesis, the same Sachan (with Payak, 1988, 1993) curiously remains one of the most outspoken critics of J&P’s identification of the sculptures.

Links: Meluhha, the inquiry Aṣṣur, Asur and their Meluhha speech in ancient Near East Meluhha – Tree of Life (Tukulti-Ninurta prays to fire-god) Meluhha — Tree of life Chandas and Meluhha: mleccha yavana be honored like ṛṣi-s Meluhha, A visible language

— S. Kalyanaraman

November 13, 2013

Allographs (Meluhha glosses):

Eannashumiddina’s Kudurru 1125 BCE, Stone kudurru. British MuseumEannashumiddina was governor of Southern Babylon when he gifted land to an unknown person between 1125 and 1100 BCE.

khaṇḍa ‘half-moon or crescent’ (Kannada) This hieroglyph may explain the symbol used frequently on kudurrus and together with the ‘sun’ symbol said to denote Sumerian utu or Akkadian Shamash, sun-divinity.

காண்டம்¹ kāṇṭam , n. perh. காண்-. 1. cf. kandara. Mountain, hill (Tamil)
Hieroglyphs: jewel-box, sacred ascetic pot: காண்டம்³ kāṇṭam , n. < karaṇḍaka. (சூடா.) 1. Jewel-box; ஆபரணச் செப்பு. 2. Ewer; கமண்டலம். (Tamil)

Hieroglyphs: water, staff, stem/stalk, arrow, weapon: காண்டம்² kāṇṭam , n. < kāṇḍa. 1. Water; sacred water; நீர். துருத்திவா யதுக்கிய குங்குமக் காண் டமும் (கல்லா. 49, 16). 2. Staff, rod; கோல். (சூடா.) 3. Stem, stalk; அடித்தண்டு. (யாழ். அக.) 4. Arrow; அம்பு. (சூடா.) 5. Weapon; ஆயுதம். (சூடா.) (Tamil)

gaṇḍá4 m. ʻ rhinoceros ʼ lex., °aka — m. lex. 2. *ga- yaṇḍa — . [Prob. of same non — Aryan origin as khaḍgá — 1: cf. gaṇōtsāha — m. lex. as a Sanskritized form ← Mu. PMWS 138]
1. Pa. gaṇḍaka — m., Pk. gaṁḍaya — m., A. gãr, Or. gaṇḍā. 2. K. gö̃ḍ m., S. geṇḍo m. (lw. with g — ), P. gaĩḍā m., °ḍī f., N. gaĩṛo, H. gaĩṛā m., G. gẽḍɔ m., °ḍī f., M. gẽḍā m.  WPah.kṭg. geṇḍɔ mirg m. ʻ rhinoceros ʼ, Md. genḍā ← H. ()CDIAL 4000) காண்டாமிருகம் kāṇṭā-mirukam , n. [M. kāṇṭāmṛgam.] Rhinoceros; கல்யானை. (Tamil)

खांदा [ khāndā ] An arm or a large bough of a tree;  khānda खांद (Usually खांदी) A bough or branch (esp. a large one.) खांड [ khāṇḍa ] A chump or division of a tree.(Marathi)

खांड [ khāṇḍa ] A flock (of sheep or goats). (Marathi)

खांड [ khāṇḍa ] A division of a field.(Marathi)

खांड [ khāṇḍa ] A jag, indentation, denticulation.खांडा [ khāṇḍā ]A jag, notch, or indentation (as upon the edge of a tool or weapon).(Marathi)

खांडा [ khāṇḍā ] m A kind of sword, straight, broad-bladed, two-edged, and round-ended.(Marathi)

Rebus: 1.Tu. kandůka, kandaka ditch, trench. Te.  kandakamu id.   Konḍa kanda trench made as a fireplace during weddings. Pe. kanda fire trench. Kui kanda small trench for fireplace. Malt. kandri a pit. (DEDR 1214).2. खंडेराव [ khaṇḍērāva ] m (खंड Sword, and राव) An incarnation of Shiva. Popularly खंडेराव is but dimly distinguished from भैरव. खंडोबा [ khaṇḍōbā ] m A familiar appellation of the god खंडेराव. खंडोबाची काठी [ khaṇḍōbācī kāṭhī ] f The pole of खंडोबा. It belongs to the temples of this god, is taken and presented, in pilgrimages, at the visited shrines, is carried about in processions &c. It is covered with cloth (red and blue), and has a plume (generally from the peacock’s tail) waving from its top. (Marathi) கந்தன்¹ kantaṉ
, n. < Pkt. Kanda Skanda. Skanda, the youngest son of Šiva; முருகக்கட வுள். (திவா.) (Tamil)

Thus, the fire-altar kanda is worshipped as a model of a temple, when the hieroglyphs are deployed in a devotional context.

Set of figures in Johannessen’s paper:











Somnathpur.’Dog toost’ kernels on a sculpted ear of maize

Wisconsin herbarium. Pointed kernels on a maize ear.

Halebid. Tessellate middle.

Halebid. Tessellate, knobbed, conical

Somnathpur. Unpollinated, mature, immature kernels.

Actual American maize ear. Poorly pollinated.

Halebid. Ear in husk with silks pulled.

Somnathpur. Rows spiral from base. Normal for maize.


Halebid. Rows spiral from base.

Javagal temple. Ear in husk with curls of silk.

Mleccha is also referred to as sarpa-speech in Indian tradition.

sarpa, ‘N. of a partic. tribe of म्लेच्छs (formerly क्षत्रियs and described as wearing beards)’ Harivams’a. It is notable that many people on cylinder seals of ancient Near East are shown wearing beards.

On this cylinder seal of Shu-iishu, Meluhhan merchant is shown with a beard and carrying a goat, mlekh a phonetic determinant of meluhha.

Kalyanaraman Nov. 14, 2013

Posted 13th November 2013 by




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