Women and the Gift in Medieval South India

  • Leslie C. OrrEmail author
Part of the Sophia Studies in Cross-cultural Philosophy of Traditions and Cultures book series (SCPT, volume 17)


Leslie C. Orr focuses on the period of the eighth to thirteenth century in Tamilnadu to explore an aspect of the all-important idiom and practice of gift-giving in India. Using the evidence of inscriptions engraved on the walls of temples, she examines the activities of women as temple patrons and the representation of female figures and powers as agents in their own right or as tokens of exchange among men. The many records of women’s gifts to temples, particularly during the first half of the period under study, show them to have an unexpected degree of autonomy in their donative activities. By considering the royal and ritual-symbolic discourse incorporated into the inscriptions, this chapter further shows the complex and dynamic relations of giving and taking among kings, queens, gods, and goddesses in medieval South India.


Women donors Auspiciousness Giving Taking Possessing Goddesses Consorts Courtesans Women as objects of exchange Socio-legal discourse Kingly discourse Ritual-symbolic discourse Locality 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ReligionConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada

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