Research in 2015–17 leading to the initial launch of this publication was made possible by a collaborative research grant from The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation, administered by the American Council of Learned Societies. The title of the Ho / ACLS research project, coordinated by Arlo Griffiths (EFEO / HiSoMA Lyon), was ‘From Vijayapurī to Śrīkṣetra? The Beginnings of Buddhist Exchange across the Bay of Bengal as Witnessed by Inscriptions from Andhra Pradesh and Myanmar.’
While the research results published here are essentially collective, the bulk of the work was planned and carried out by Arlo Griffiths and Vincent Tournier (SOAS, London), and it is they who bear responsibility for the publication as its general editors. The entries for individual inscriptions carry information about their respective editors and contributors. In addition to the work of Griffiths and Tournier that touched on almost every single item, Stefan Baums (Ludwig‐Maximilians‐Universität München) and Ingo Strauch (Université de Lausanne) made important contributions, especially to the study of the inscriptions from Nagarjunakonda, from Phanigiri, and from Ghantasala. Emmanuel Francis (CNRS / research center CEIAS, Paris) has been involved in connection with the inscriptions of the Śālaṅkāyana and Pallava dynasties.
The digital humanities aspects of this publication have been coordinated by Emmanuelle Morlock (research center HiSoMA). She has been responsible for determining the encoding strategy within the TEI/EpiDoc framework and for developing the ODD specification for the needs of the project. Moreover, she has acted as TEI/EpiDoc trainer for our encoding assistants. Andrew Ollett (Harvard University) also acted as TEI/EpiDoc trainer and has provided digital humanities consultancy.
Access to the inscriptions and to estampages
We acknowledge the collaboration of Dr. Rakesh Tiwari, Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), who authorized our access to the exhibitions and reserve collections of the ASI Museums at Nagarjunakonda and Amaravati in 2016 and 2017, and thus made it possible for us to document and photograph the two most important collections of inscriptions relevant to our corpus. Our work at those Museums, and other sites administered by the ASI, was facilitated through the ASI Hyderabad Circle, notably by Mr. N. Taher (Superintending Archaeologist), by Mr. D. Kanna Babu (Deputy Superintending Archaeologist) and by Mr. G. Suryaprakash (Assistant Archaeologist). We extend our warm thanks to these gentlemen, as also to Dr. K. Munirathnam, Director of Epigraphy at the ASI Epigraphy branch in Mysore, who allowed us access to the ASI’s estampage collection and gave us permission to take photographs.
At the state level, our work at various museums in Hyderabad, at the district museum in Nalgonda, and at the Phanigiri site, was greatly facilitated by Smt. N.R. Visalatchi, director of of Telangana State Department of Archaeology & Museums. We gratefully acknowledge her decisive help in gaining access and photographing several inscriptions included in this corpus.
The Government Museum in Chennai holds a very important collection of early inscriptions of Āndhradeśa, notably several of the early copper-plate charters. Its director, Dr. D. Jagannathan, kindly allowed us to document and photograph several inscriptions during our visit in January 2017.
The University Library at Leiden, the Netherlands, holds an important collection of estampages of Nagarjunakonda Inscriptions. We are grateful to Peter Bisschop and Doris Jedamski who facilitated our access to this collection, and helped us obtain magnificent high-resolution scans in 2016.
The following colleagues help us gain access to inscriptions held in the custody of their respective institutions: Joan Cummins (Brooklyn Museum of Art); Imma Ramos (British Museum), Michael Willis (British Museum), and Thierry Zéphir (Musée Guimet).
Photographers and research assistants
The Ho Foundation grant made it possible in 2017 to pay a subcontractor and student assistants to help us prepare this publication. Many of the photographs and Reflection Transformation Images (RTI) that we have used in order to study the inscriptions published here, and several of those illustrating this publication, were taken during fieldwork in 2017 by James Miles (Archaeovision, Southampton, UK). During the same trip, Adeline Levivier (Lyon) took many other photos, including those of the ASI estampage collection in Mysore. The Nagarjunakonda map was drawn by Marie Vautier (Besançon), who also started work on a Geographic Information System (GIS) to cover the early epigraphy of Āndhadeśa. She was guided in her GIS work by Alexandre Rabot (research center HiSoMA). Chloé Chollet and Marine Schoettel, both students at the EPHE (Paris), in their capacity of encoding assistants have encoded the 173 inscriptions included in the initial launching of this publication and also helped with library work.
The following colleagues help us gain access to inscriptions, shared photographs, or drew our attention to important publications: Parul Pandya Dhar; Elizabeth Rosen Stone; Monika Zin. We conclude these credits with a special word of thanks to Valérie Gillet and Akira Shimada, who accompanied us during fieldwork and played a very active role in the intensive exchange of information that has made it possible to build up this digital corpus in a relatively limited amount of time.