Merchants and Their Family Members as Donors of Inscribed Sculptures in Early Medieval Bihar and Bengal

Birendra Nath Prasad

Abstract


Through an analysis of dedicatory inscriptions on Buddhist and Brahmanical sculptures donated by merchants and their family members in early medieval Bihar and Bengal, this paper explores the nature of mercantile patronage of Buddhism and Brahmanism in this area. An overwhelming percentage of such reported inscriptions record mercantile patronage through donation of a Buddhist image, indicating that merchants and their families sought social mobility primarily through their patronage of Buddhism


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