Southern Asia


The akam, or love poems presented here are from the classical Tamil anthology Aiṅkur̲unūr̲u (ஐங்குறுநூறு – the short 500), compiled in southern India in the early part of the 3rd century C.E. These selections, authored by the poet Kapilar (ca. 140-200), are set in the Kuriñci poetic landscape, featuring the clandestine meeting of lovers against a backdrop of lush, cool mountains.



Cĕn̲n̲ai: Ĕs. Rājam, 1957.

The exhibit features poems 201-202 of the Aiṅkur̲unūr̲u. In Tamil with Tamil commentary.

Tamil Love Poetry: The Five Hundred Short Poems of Aiṅkuru̲nūru̲, an Early Third-century Anthology

Translated & edited by Martha Ann Selby. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011.

The exhibit features English translations of poems 201-204 of the Aiṅkur̲unūr̲u. With commentary.

Poems of Love and War: From the Eight Anthologies and the Ten Long Poems of Classical Tamil

Selected & translated by A. K. Ramanujan. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011.*

*Physical exhibit features the 1985 edition.

The exhibit features English translations of poems 207-210 of the Aiṅkur̲unūr̲u.

Tamilakam in the Sangam Age

Sreedhara Menon, A. A Survey of Kerala History. Kottayam: Sahitya Pravarthaka Co-operative Society, 1967.

Map of Tamilakam – the ancient Tamil-speaking world – during the classical (also known as “Sangam”) period (ca. the 3rd century B.C.E. to 3rd century C.E.). The area roughly includes the current day southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala; parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh; and the northern part of Sri Lanka.