To what extent are the Sanskrit “bawdy satires” from Kashmir embedded in kāmaśāstric tradition?
Panel:Kāmaśāstras/Kokaśāstras: an interdisciplinary corpus
The Samayamātṛkā is one of the works that R. Salomon labelled as “bawdy satires”. It is a satirical poem composed by the 11th century Kashmirian polymath Kṣemendra. In the opening of the text, Kṣemendra introduces his work as a useful treatise for courtesans. The poem is replete with references to kāmaśāstra literature. The character of the bawd turns into an instructor and imitates the learned style of the śāstras so well that G. Wojtilla was tempted to try and find a treatise that could have inspired Kṣemendra. Through a thorough comparison of Kṣemendra’s Samayamātṛkā with kāmaśāstric literature on the one hand and with another bawdy satire from Kashmir, namely Dāmodaragupta’s Kuṭṭanīmata (8th century), on the other hand, the presentation will enable us to see how kāmaśāstric works permeate Sanskrit literature and why reading them proves highly fruitful to better understand literary works that were considerably influenced by the tradition of erotic treatises that kept on being very much alive. It seems that Kṣemendra wanted his audience to read at least parts of his work as if they were indeed passages from kāmaśāstras. The presentation will try and delineate to what extent Dāmodaragupta and Kṣemendra drew inspiration from kāmaśāstras and how they appropriated this tradition.