Universiteit Leiden

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Kexin Zheng

PhD candidate

K. Zheng MA
+31 71 527 2727

Kexin Zheng is lecturer and PhD at the Institute for Area Studies.

More information about Kexin Zheng

PhD research

The Tulāpuruṣadāna Ceremony: A text-historical study of its meaning and practice over time

Supervisors: prof. dr. P.C. Bisschop and prof. dr. J.A. Silk

The tulāpuruṣadāna or ‘weighing gifting ceremony’ is one of the major royal rituals of Brahmanical Hinduism. The core procedure of this ceremony is that the donor should sit on one side of the balance, and gold or other materials should be put on the other side of the balance to weigh the donor. The materials put on the balance should be donated. The performance of the tulāpuruṣadāna ceremony is described in different types of Sanskrit literuture, such as the Atharvavedapariśiṣṭa, some Purāṇas, and several medieval Dharmanibandhas. Besides, this ceremony is frequently mentioned in epigraphs starting from the 7th century onwards. According to the literary texts and epigraphical records, it is usually lavish and celebrated by kings. Today, the tulāpuruṣadāna ceremony is still alive in India, but has undergone significant changes over time.

Listed in the Matsyapurāṇa as the first of the sixteen mahādānas or ‘great gifts’, the tulāpuruṣadāna ceremony has received special attention in scholarly discussion about the mahādānas. A large number of epigraphs mentioning this ceremony has also been analysed to present its history. Despite these researches, a number of aspects of this ceremony are still not clarified, such as its origin and its contemporary practice. This PhD research will combine both textual analysis and fieldwork, aiming to get a more comprehensive and thorough understanding of the tulāpuruṣadāna ceremony.



Sept. 2017 July 2020   

MA Indian Language and Literature (Sanskrit and Pali), Department of South Asian Studies, School of Foreign Languages, Peking University, Beijing, China

Sept. 2013 – June 2017

BA Hindi, School of Asian and African Studies, Shanghai International Studies University, Shanghai, China

Aug. 2015 – May 2016

Exchange Student, Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, Wardha, India



Four-year PhD Scholarship from China Scholarship Council


Ten-month India-China Scholarship from China Scholarship Council and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations


PhD candidate

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SAS India en Tibet

Work address

Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 3
2311 BZ Leiden


No relevant ancillary activities

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