FOLLOWING THE NON-MONEY TRAIL: RECONCILING SOME ANGKORIAN TEMPLE ACCOUNTS
AbstractFew Angkorian temple inscriptions contain data on revenues and scheduling of resources in a manner that is both comprehensive and coherent. As a result, the operations of Angkor’s temples and āśrama are not well understood. Yet it must have been important for foundations to keep records to ensure their sustainability, particularly of offerings to deities and maintenance of personnel, in some cases numbering into the thousands. This paper uses an accounting approach to shed some light on the modes of support for workers of religious establishments. Prime uncertainties addressed in the process are varying scales of weights and measures for rice, and volumetric relationships between different forms of rice. Working back from stated quantities of rice and paddy, at times unrealistically precise, we deduce that the auditors adopted a ratio of 2 when calculating the conversion of paddy to rice, rather than the 2.5 commonly used in contemporary Indian texts. We also reevaluate the frequencies of two religious festivals, saṅkrānta and tithiviśeṣana. The metabolic requirements of different age groups and sexes in rice-eating communities, together with the rations prescribed in some of Yaśovarman’s āśrama allow us to estimate that a liḥ of rice weighed between 800 g and 900 g and from this to infer the age range for boys who were studying in those āśrama. The implications of the profiting of some and the under-provisioning for other sanctuary personnel are considered in conjunction with the institution of fortnightly scheduling seen in some religious establishments.