Hakku Patra

Hakku patra

Hakku Patra is a title deed document, giving rights to an individual or a group of individuals. The rights may be to land or use of land or rights to provide service or perform activities. Hakku Patra can be sculpted metal plaque as in this example or metal sheets with inscriptions or plain paper document as it is these days.

Please see the photo of the back for the description of ‘title’. The translation of the text is work-in-progress. Thanks to another collector enthusiast.

The front is divided into five panels and has fifteen figures (deities and semi-deities).

The top most portion has Kirtimukha (face of glory), the same face we see at the top of South Indian back plates (Prabhavali) surrounding gods and goddesses.

The top panel has Vishnu, Siva as Nataraja and Brahma (left to right). They are identified by their attributes. Between Vishnu and Siva, Nandi (Siva’s vahana) is shown. Siva is the only god in that panel wearing footwear (padukas). Unusual for Siva as Nataraja to be wearing footwear. Siva is flanked by  Sun and Moon signs.

In the panel below you see Hanuman, unidentified deity wearing footwear, kaHakku Patra backli (dark goddess) and Ganesha. In another example of Hakku Patra, the second figure was identified as a priest and is carrying a puja bell and is not wearing footwear. In any case, humans are not expected/allowed to wear footwear in the presence of deities.

The next panel, middle one, has Manubrahma and her daughter, Twasta Brahma and Shilpi Brahma.

The fourth panel, from the top, has Viswabrahma, Panasa Kumara, Panosa tree and vahana kapari.

The bottom most panel has a warrior, mirror, elephant and horse.

The above description draws heavily from a study administered by the British Library (EAP201: Study and collection of Hakku patra and other documents among folk communities in Andhra Pradesh). That example referred to in the above study is dated to the Sixteenth century and it was issued by a Muslim ruler.

Among other things, the text is supposed to describe Viswabrahma, artisans representing various crafts. Viswabrahmins are considered to be descendants of Viswakarma, the architect of the Universe.

The plaque is made of brass and appears to have carved/sculpted from a single brass plate. This Hakku Patra is from Telugu speaking region.

It is about 22.5 cm in height and 12 cm in width.

7 March 2021: After a few years of trying, finally found someone who deciphered the inscription for me. Thanks to my friend Vaidyanathan. The inscription ” eulogizes all sculptors, Surya Chandra, ashta dikpalaka (Deities representing the eight directions) panchaboothas (Five bhutas), 14 lokas (14 worlds), all muni (rishi/saints) ganas (Siva’s troupe) Bhrighu (A rishi) vasishta (Another Rishi) etc, 1000 varahas (Varaha here means boar) to bless the bride.” (the words in italics are my translation).

It is very different to what I had written as the possible message.

30 May 20201:

One of the readers, Aswani, of the blogsite shared the above plaque, in Hyderabad museum. Aswani’s description of the above example can be found on his blogsite.


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