The inscription is engraved on a stone slab discovered in 1911 by H. F. Tomalin, the Provincial Engineer at Galle, in a culvert near the turn to Cripps Road within that town and afterwards moved to the Colombo Museum. The slab features inscriptions in three different languages, enclosed within a floral border: Tamil (top-left, IN03150), Persian (bottom-left, IN03151) and Chinese (right). The Chinese inscription is dealt with here.

 

Following the discovery of the slab, the Chinese inscription was successfully transcribed and translated by Edmund Backhouse. Like the Tamil inscription, it is dated in the second month of the seventh year of Yuṅlo (Yung Lo), the Chinese emperor whose reign began in 1403 A.D. The text features a list of praise and offerings dedicated by the Chinese emperor, through his envoys Ching-Ho and Wang Ch’ing Lien, to the Buddha. The other two inscriptions on the slab feature similar (though not identical) lists of offerings but the beneficiary is different in each case, being a Hindu cult deity in the Tamil text and an Islamic saint or shrine in the Persian. It therefore appears that, when the Chinese gained political ascendancy over Sri Lanka in 1409, they made gifts of equal value to several different religious traditions of the region and recorded these gifts on the same stone.

Metadata
Inscription ID IN03152
Title Galle Trilingual Slab - Chinese Inscription
Alternative titles
Parent Object OB03125
Related Inscriptions IN03150 IN03151
Responsibility
Author Senarath Paranavitana
Print edition recorded by
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Digitally edited by
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Authority for
Metadata recorded by
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Language 漢語
Reigning monarch
Commissioner Yuṅlo (Yung Lo)
Topic features a list of praise and offerings dedicated by the Chinese emperor, through his envoys Ching-Ho and Wang Ch’ing Lien, to the Buddha
Date:
Min 1410
Max 1411
Comment Basis for dating: the inscription is dated in the second month of the seventh year of Yuṅlo (Yung Lo), the Chinese emperor whose reign began in 1403 A.D.
Hand
Letter size
Description Letter size not reported.
Layout
Campus:
Width 25.4
Height 111.76
Description Engraved on the right portion of a stone slab. In addition to the Chinese record, the same slab also features inscriptions in two other languages: Tamil, in the top-left portion of the slab, and Persian, in the bottom-left. The total area covered by all three inscriptions measures 2 foot 3 inches (68.58 cm) by 3 foot 8 inches (111.76 cm).
Decoration A floral border surrounded the area covered by the three inscriptions. On either face of the top portion of the slab, of which the town corners are rounded, there is a carving of two dragons facing each other.
Bibliography
References In 1913, Edward W. Perera contributed a paper on the trilingual slab to the Spolia Zeylanica (vol. viii, pp. 122ff.), which included an account of its discovery and its historical importance, together with the text and translation of the Chinese inscription by Edmund Backhouse. Backhouse’s translation was republished as an appendix to Senarath Paranavitana’s account of the Tamil inscription in Epigraphia Zeylanica 3 (1928–33): 331–341, no. 36, Appendix A.
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