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Tiryakpatan Yantra

National Council of Science Museums

National Council of Science Museums

It was used for purification of mercury.

Procedure: Mercury is kept in a long vessel, with a bent tube at its neck. The lower end of the tube should be inserted into the body of another vessel containing water. The mouth of these two vessels and joints are closed with clay and cloth etc. a blazing fire is placed under the first vessel. The mercury falls into the water in the second vessel. Cold water is poured constantly on the second vessel to get sublimated mercury.

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  • Title: Tiryakpatan Yantra
  • Type: Chemical Apparatus
  • Technology: Chemical Laboratory
  • Related to: Rasashala, Ancient Indian Chemical Laboratory
  • Historical Context: Ancient Indians achieved great progress in alchemy (the older form of chemistry). Earliest distillation of alcohol can be traced back to the archeological finds at Taxila. Ancient chemistry in India grew out of the early efforts to develop an elixir and to turn base metals into gold. Mercury and its elixirs were used in transmutation of the base metals into noble ones, as well as for purifying the body, rejuvenating it and taking it to an imperishable and immortal state. Out of the numerous alchemical texts, written between the ninth and the fourteenth century AD, some give alchemical ideas, while others are devoted to alchemy. The second category includes Rasahrdayatantra by Govind Bhagwatpad, Srasaratnakara by Siddha Nityanatha, Rasarnava by an unknown author, Srasendracudamani by Somadeva, Rasaratnasamuccaya by Vagbhatta, Rasaprakasasudhakara by Yasodhara, Rasendracintamani by Dhundukanatha, Rasakaumudi by Sarvajnacandra, Rasabhesajakalpa by Surya Pandita, Rasasamketakalika by Camunda, Rasamuktavalina by Devanatha etc. There are several other works like Dhatukalpa, Dhatumanjari, Dhatumaranam, Rasgrantha, Rasakalpalata, Rasanibhandha, Suvaranatantra, whose authorships and dates have not yet been established. Nagarjuna was the most prominent scholar in the field of Indian alchemy. Rasashala, a typical alchemical laboratory of Nagarjuna is recreated in ‘Our Science & Technological Heritage of India’ gallery at National Science Centre, Delhi. Alchemical treatises of ancient India refer to various types of Yantras for different applications. Some of these Yantras and their applications are depicted in the gallery.
  • Field: Alchemy
  • Discoverer: Nagarjuna
  • Discovered in: Taxila
  • Date Discovered: circa 9th century AD

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