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The science of palmistry in Anand Kavi’s Kokasāra

id: 1la2f


· Nadia Cattoni University of Lausanne (Lausanne, Switzerland)


Kāmaśāstras/Kokaśāstras: an interdisciplinary corpus


The Kokasāra or Kokamañjarī by Anand Kavi is a kokaśāstra written in brajbhāṣā in the beginning of the 17th century. As it is referenced in several manuscripts, Anand Kavi’s text is a compendium of previous works discussing well-known topics of the genre such as typologies of women and men, lists of sexual positions or kinds of marks and embraces. In a first part, this presentation will show how complex systems of erotological knowledge were summarized and simplified in the Kokasāra, sometimes to the extreme. I will argue that these changes are not only due to the compilation of several works but are testimonies of the adaption of the text to a popular and less literate audience. In a second part, the presentation will investigate less known chapters of kokaśāstras introducing topics like palmistry (sāmudrika) and the reading of important signs on women’s body. This part will show how Anand Kavi’s Kokasāra understands the science of palmistry, traditionally incorporated into kāmaśāstras/kokaśāstras.