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OB03083 Poḷonnaruva Vēḷäikkāṟa Slab

Author: Don Martino de Zilva Wickremasinghe

Velaikkara Slab Inscription near the Atadage, Polonnaruwa

Community: Sri Lanka epigraphy
Uploaded on November 6, 2017
February 4, 2020
IN03103 Poḷonnaruva Slab Inscription of the Vēḷäikkāṟas

Author: Don Martino de Zilva Wickremasinghe

The inscription is incised on a fine granite slab found lying prone in the Tōpa-väva quadrangle (the Dalada Maluwa) in Polonnaruwa. The find was reported by H. C. P. Bell in his Annual Report of the Ceylon Archaeological Survey for 1903 (p. 11). The slab was subsequently framed with cement and placed upright near the Atadage in the Tōpa-väva quadrangle, where it stands today. Consisting of forty-nine lines in total, the inscription is written in Tamil with an introductory Sanskrit verse. It was erected by the members of the Vēḷäikkāṟa (or Velaikkara) community. As part of the expeditionary forces of Rājēndra Coḷa I, the Velaikkaras established themselves as a powerful force in northern Sri Lankan following the capture of Mahinda V in 1017–18 A.D. They were subjugated by king Vijaya-Bāhu I in 1073 A.D. but rebelled against his authority eleven years later, after he asked them to fight in his military campaign against their own kinsmen, the Coḷas. Although the king’s forces quickly quelled the rebellion, the Velaikkara community continued to hold considerable power. Indeed, such was their influence that, during the turbulent period of internal conflict that followed Vijaya-Bāhu I’s death, they were entrusted with the protection of the Sacred Tooth-relic Temple, which had been built (probably some twenty or thirty years earlier) by the minister Deva Senāpati under Vijaya-Bāhu’s orders. This inscription was erected around this time to provide written assurance that the Velaikkara soldiers would protect the sacred relics. The first part of the text serves as an introduction, describing Vijaya-Bāhu I’s charitable acts, including the building of the Tooth-relic temple. The second part details the provisions made by the Velaikkaras for the protection of the temple and relics. No date is given in the text but, drawing on a combination of palaeographic and historical evidence, Wickremasinghe argues that it dates from between 1137 and 1153 A.D., belonging either to the reign of Vikkama-Bāhu (1116–1137 A.D.) or, more probably, to that of his son Gaja-Bāhu (1137–1153 A.D.).

Community: Sri Lanka epigraphy
Uploaded on November 6, 2017
February 4, 2020
OB03082 Poḷonnaruva Pot-Gul Vehera Door Jamb

Author: Don Martino de Zilva Wickremasinghe

File:Potgul Vehera 2017-10-17 (8).jpg

Potgul Vehera, Polonnaruwa

Community: Sri Lanka epigraphy
Uploaded on November 6, 2017
January 31, 2020
IN03102 Poḷonnaruva Pot-Gul Vehera Inscription

Author: Don Martino de Zilva Wickremasinghe

The inscription is incised on a door-jamb of the ruined maṇḍapa at the so-called ‘Pot-Gul Vehera’, which is the central shrine in a group of ruined buildings erected on raised sites within a quadrangular mound once held up by a brick rampart faced with elephant head decorations. The site is situated about a mile to the south of the ancient city of Poḷonnaruva, not far from the southern end of the Tōpa-väva bund. Little is known about the original use of the shrine but the modern name – ‘Pot-Gul Vehera’ (‘library shrine’) – may be a misnomer, since there is no clear evidence that it was used as a monastic library. The building was excavated in 1906 by H. C. P. Bell.

 

The inscription records the original construction of the vihāra by king Parakkrama-Bāhu I (r. 1153-86), its rebuilding after his death by his chief-queen Līlāvatī, and the addition of the maṇḍapa by his sub-queen Candavatī. Līlāvatī’s rebuilding is described as having taken place after she had been installed as sovereign in her own right. The rebuilding can therefore have taken place no earlier than 1197, the year in which she first took the throne. She was deposed in 1200 but returned to power on two further occasions, reigning from 1209-1210 and again from 1211-12. It is clear from the inscription that the construction of the maṇḍapa by Candavatī occurred after Līlāvatī’s rebuilding (and thus no earlier than 1197). Since the inscription is written on a door jamb of the maṇḍapa, the text may have been commissioned by Candavatī’s order. Wickremasinghe and Bell identify Candavatī with the queen referred to as Rūpavatī in other sources.

Community: Sri Lanka epigraphy
Uploaded on November 6, 2017
January 31, 2020
OB03081 Poḷonnaruva Ānaulundāva Slab

Author: Don Martino de Zilva Wickremasinghe

Community: Sri Lanka epigraphy
Uploaded on November 6, 2017
January 31, 2020
IN03101 Poḷonnaruva Ānaulundāva Slab Inscription

Author: Don Martino de Zilva Wickremasinghe

The inscription is covers the upper end of the prepared surface of a stone slab, which was discovered in July 1921 in or near a village called Ānaulundāva to the north of Poḷonnaruva. The text consists three lines written in the Sinhalese alphabet of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The third line is no longer legible and the first and second consist only of a number of high sounding titles of honour in Sanskrit. Wickremasinghe notes that these titles are practically identical with those applied to certain members of a guild of merchants called Vīra-Baṇañju or Vīra-Vaḷañjiyar, who are referred to as prominent donors in several Kanarese inscriptions of the twelfth century, including those from Kolhāpūr, Miraj and Mamdāpūr (see Epigraphia Indica 19 [1927-28], pp. 19-41). The inscription would thus seem to suggest that these merchants were present in Sri Lanka in the twelfth century, leading Wickremasinghe to infer the possibility of their having acquired important trading and other concessions during the time of Kīrti Niśśaṅka-Malla. Following their practice in Mysore and elsewhere in India, the merchants may have set up the present slab to record one of their pious gifts to a Hindu temple.

Community: Sri Lanka epigraphy
Uploaded on November 6, 2017
January 31, 2020
OB03080 Alutväva Pillar

Author: Don Martino de Zilva Wickremasinghe

Community: Sri Lanka epigraphy
Uploaded on November 6, 2017
January 30, 2020
IN03100 Alutväva Pillar Inscription

Author: Don Martino de Zilva Wickremasinghe

The inscription is engraved on three sides of a quadrangular stone pillar found at Alutwväva (Alutwewa, a hamlet near Eppavala), where it was examined by H. C. P. Bell in 1895. The text gives details of a council warrant. Certain portions of the text are no longer legible and, as a consequence, the exact purport of the warrant is unclear. The readable part of the inscription enumerates certain properties in Mahademeṭi-kuḷiya, which are described as being under the management of one Tinḍī Kitu. However, given the damage to the text, it is not possible to say whether the properties were gifted to this man or whether he only received certain privileges in connection with them.

 

The inscription gives the date upon which the warrant was approved and the date upon which it was proclaimed. Both dates are in the lunar month Und-väp (Nov.-Dec.) in either the fifth or the twentieth (the text is not entirely clear) regnal year of king Siri San̆g-bo. The biruda Siri San̆g-bo was used by several Sri Lankan kings. Dating the inscription on palaeographic grounds to around the tenth century A.D., Wickremasinghe suggests that Siri San̆g-bo refers in this instance to either Sena II (r. 866-901 A.D.) or Kassapa IV (r. 912-929 A.D.), both of whom are known to have used the title. The palaeography more strongly supports the case for Kassapa IV but, of the two, only Sena II ruled for more than twenty years, making him the likelier possibility if the regnal year is interpreted as ‘twentieth’, rather than ‘fifth’.

Community: Sri Lanka epigraphy
Uploaded on November 6, 2017
January 30, 2020
Amritapura temple

Author: Anon.

Amritapura, Am temple

Community: Kannada epigraphy
Uploaded on November 6, 2017
January 30, 2020
OB03079 Poḷonnaruva Slab of Sāhasa-Malla

Author: Don Martino de Zilva Wickremasinghe

Community: Sri Lanka epigraphy
Uploaded on November 6, 2017
January 30, 2020
IN03099 Poḷonnaruva Slab Inscription of Sāhasa-Malla

Author: Don Martino de Zilva Wickremasinghe

The inscription is incised on both sides of a quadrangular slab, which was discovered sometime before 1874, standing upright at a spot north of the Häṭadāgē in Poḷonnaruva. The text is mostly in Sinhalese but two Sanskrit stanzas in śārdūlavikrīḍita metre make up the first and last five lines; these stanzas are separated from the rest of the text by fish emblems. The inscription gives an account of the parentage and ascent to the throne of Siri San̆gabo Kāliṅga Vijaya-Bāhu, noting that he was the (half-)brother of king Niśśaṅka-Malla and assumed the biruda epithet Sāhaṣa-Malla. It then records that Sāhaṣa-Malla appointed the general Lak-Vijaya-Sin̆gu-Senevi as his prime minister and granted him much wealth.

 

Whereas most Sri Lankan inscriptions of this period are dated only by the regnal years of ruling monarchs, this record contains a date in the Buddha-varṣa and thus provides a fixed point of historical reference within broader chronologies of the period. The date given in the inscription is 1743 years, 3 months and 27 days of the Buddhavarṣa, Wednesday, the twelfth day of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Binera (Bhādrapada, Aug.-Sept.). Following Fleet (1909: 331), Wickremasinghe identified this date with Wednesday 23 August 1200 A.D. It refers to Sāhasa-Malla’s anointment as king and not the incision of the inscription. However, the grant recorded in the inscription is described as having taken place in the first year of the king’s reign (between August 1200 and August 1201 A.D.).

Community: Sri Lanka epigraphy
Uploaded on November 6, 2017
January 30, 2020
OB03078b Am̆bagamuva Rock 2 of Vijaya-Bāhu I

Author: Don Martino de Zilva Wickremasinghe

Community: Sri Lanka epigraphy
Uploaded on November 6, 2017
January 23, 2020
OB03078a Am̆bagamuva Rock 1 of Vijaya-Bāhu I

Author: Don Martino de Zilva Wickremasinghe

Community: Sri Lanka epigraphy
Uploaded on November 6, 2017
January 23, 2020
OB03078 Am̆bagamuva Rocks of Vijaya-Bāhu I

Author: Don Martino de Zilva Wickremasinghe

Community: Sri Lanka epigraphy
Uploaded on November 6, 2017
January 23, 2020
IN03098 Am̆bagamuva Rock Inscription of Vijaya-Bāhu I

Author: Don Martino de Zilva Wickremasinghe

The inscription is engraved on two boulders on the summit of a hill in Am̆bagamuva, a small village near Nāwalapiṭiya. The text outlines king Vijaya-Bāhu I’s parentage, his qualities as both a war lord and a benevolent ruler, and his victory over the Tamil forces. The inscription then records the king’s offerings to the Buddha’s footprint on Adam’s Peak, his improvements to the footprint’s shrine, and his charitable grants to pilgrims visiting the area. These grants are followed by the usual statement of ‘sanctions’ in respect of the villages dedicated to the shrine.

 

The date of Vijaya-Bāhu’s benefaction to the pilgrims of Adam’s Peak is given in the inscription as the seventh day of the waxing moon in the month of Män̆dindina (February–March) in the thirty-eighth year of his reign. This king’s Polonnaruwa rule began in 1070 A.D. and his coronation took place about two years later, thus placing the date of the benefaction around 1107. Since Vijaya-Bāhu I died in 1110, this must have been one of his last charitable acts. The specific date of the incision of the inscription is not given. However, as the text is situated in one of the villages affected by the benefaction, it may be presumed that it was incised not long after the grant was made.

Community: Sri Lanka epigraphy
Uploaded on November 6, 2017
January 23, 2020
OB03077 Räkiṭipe Pillar Fragment of Līlāvatī

Author: Don Martino de Zilva Wickremasinghe

Community: Sri Lanka epigraphy
Uploaded on November 6, 2017
January 22, 2020
IN03097 Räkiṭipe Pillar Inscription of Līlāvatī

Author: Don Martino de Zilva Wickremasinghe

The inscription is engraved on a stone fragment found between the years 1906 and 1912 in the village of Räkiṭipe in Unantänna-vasam, Diyatilaka kōrale in the Nuvara Eliya District. The abrupt ending of the inscription and the sun and moon emblems carved above the text indicate that the stone originally formed the top of a square pillar. The rest of the pillar is missing. As the extant fragment features only the first ten lines of the inscription, it is not possible to say what the subject-matter was. However, it seems from the first clause that the inscription recorded a grant of land or some other benefaction in the reign of Līlāvatī, the Queen-dowager of Parakkama-Bāhu I who ruled as sovereign in her own right for three separate periods, first in 1197, then in 1209-10 and finally in 1211-12. On the basis of palaeographic considerations, Wickremasinghe conjectures that this inscription may date to 1211 A.D., when Līlāvatī was installed on the throne for the third time, governing for seven months until deposed by the Pāṇḍyan King Parakkama.

Community: Sri Lanka epigraphy
Uploaded on November 6, 2017
January 22, 2020
IN01104 Inscription on a lapis intaglio (OB01104) with the bust of a man

Author: M. G. Dikshit

Intaglio in lapis lazuli with the bust of a man and an inscription, British Museum 1892,1103.143

Community: Intaglios, seals and stamps
Uploaded on November 6, 2017
January 22, 2020
OB01104 Intaglio in lapis lazuli with the bust of a man and an inscription

Author: A. W. Franks

Intaglio in lapis lazuli with the bust of a man and an inscription, British Museum 1892,1103.143

Community: Intaglios, seals and stamps
Uploaded on November 6, 2017
January 22, 2020
OB03076 Bōpiṭiya Slab of Kalyāṇavatī

Author: Don Martino de Zilva Wickremasinghe

Community: Sri Lanka epigraphy
Uploaded on November 6, 2017
January 22, 2020