Authors: Sudraka

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Indian playwright

Author Works


Mrcchakatika, pr. between second century b.c.e. and sixth century c.e. (The Little Clay Cart, 1905)


Sudraka (SHEW-druh-kuh), also spelled Shudraka or Çudraka, is possibly a legendary prince who never really existed. Tradition has it that he lived in the first or second century before Christ, and The Little Clay Cart, a Sanskrit drama of political intrigue and romantic comedy, has been attributed to him by tradition. The Sutradhara, a later Sanskrit manuscript, ascribes the play to him and describes him as a student of the Vedas, a mathematician, and an expert on women and elephants. Sudraka’s authorship of the play is disputed, however, and some scholars believe that its author was Dandin, a seventh century Sanskrit author best known for a picaresque narrative titled Dasakumāracharita (the adventures of the ten princes). It may be that neither Sudraka nor Dandin actually wrote the play; many scholars believe that it dates from the fifth century c.e., six or seven centuries after Sudraka’s supposed dates and about two centuries before Dandin’s lifetime. It seems likely that The Little Clay Cart was written at the beginnings of a golden age of Sanskrit drama under the Gupta kings of Kanauj, who ruled over the greater part of India during the fourth and fifth centuries. The play would belong then to that great age of Sanskrit drama which includes the anonymous Mudrārāksasa (the prime minister’s ring) and Kālidāsa’s famous Sakuntala.{$I[AN]9810000433}{$I[A]Sudraka}{$S[A]Shudraka;Sudraka}{$S[A]Çudr aka;Sudraka}{$I[geo]INDIA;Sudraka}{$I[tim]0100 b.c.e.;Sudraka}

BibliographyBernhard, Betty. Taking a Ride on the Clay Cart: Dynamics of Sanskrit Theater, a Production Casebook of the Classic Natyashastra Style. Claremont, Calif.: Pomona College, 1995.Chakrabarti, Prakaschandra. A Treatise on Sudraka’s “Mrcchakatika.” Delhi: Pilgrim’s Books, 1999.Chattopadhya, Nisikanta. Dr. Nishikanta Chattopadhyaya’s “Mrcchakatika,” or “The Toy-Cart” of King Sudrakak: A Study. Reprint. Calcutta: Sanskrit Book Depot, 1984.Dandekar, R. N. The Age of the Guptas and Other Essays. Delhi, India: Ajanta Publications, 1982.Devasarma, Visvanatha. Shudraka. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 1999.Naikar, Chandramouli S. The “Mrcchakatika” and the Indian Laws. Dharwad, India: Medha, 1994.Oliver, Revilo Pendleton, trans. The Little Clay Cart. Urbana: University of Illinois, 1938.
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