Saturday, August 24, 2019

Mihintale Slab Inscriptions of Mahinda IV

Slab Inscriptions of Mahinda IV
Two Slab Inscriptions of Mahinda IV are found established in a ruined building at the ancient monastery of Mihintale in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka. The two inscriptions have been erected on the orders of King Mahinda IV (956-972 A.D.) to provide information on the administration and inner life of the monastery at Mihintale. They further reveal about the rules and regulations pertaining to the monk community, the intervention of the State, the wages and allowances for the employees of the temple as well as about the information regarding the work involved with the temple, the relic house, and special monastic buildings.

Mihintale Inscriptions Mahinda IVThe two inscriptions are about seven feet high and about four feet wide and standing upright in a ruined building called "Bhojana-shala" [(the refectory) Wickremasinghe, 1912]. Both inscriptions are consist of 58 lines and have been written in the Sinhalese language of the late tenth and early eleven centuries A.D. (Wickremasinghe, 1912). The author of the inscription is mentioned as Siri Sangboy Abahay (the King Mahinda IV).

Reign  : King Mahinda IV (956 - 972 A.D.)
Period : 10th century A.D.
Script  : Medieval Sinhala
Language: Medieval Sinhala

The slab inscription no. I
This inscription provides details about the statutory enactments (rules and regulations) imposed on Chetiyagiri Viharaya. They include; preparation of accounts on income and expenditures, preparation of monthly accounts, preparation of annual profit and loss account, and the balance sheet, and also about making the accounts public.

The content in this slab is said to be more or less similar to those in the Jetavanarama Sanskrit Inscription and Kassapa V's inscription near the stone canopy in Anuradhapura (Wickremasinghe, 1912).

Content : The king in his 16th regnal year, convened a meeting of the representatives of the Abhayagiri Viharaya and Chetiyagiri Viharaya (modern Mihintale) and the laymen attached to the Vihara (such as officers, servants and the tenants of the properties belonged to the Vihara). After reviewing the administrative and regulations in force, the king enacted a new set of rules on the administration of Chetiyagiri Viharaya.
The slab inscription no. II
The second slab deals with the emoluments of employees/servants. According to the inscription, the employees had been paid based on their relevant positions.

Content : The inscription contains details about the allowances to be paid to all employees and servants of the Chetiyagiri Viharaya and about the special provisions which should be given to the chief administrator monk of the Vihara. The units and measurements of allowances are as in vogue during that time.

1) Wickremasinghe, D.M.D.Z., 1912. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscription of Ceylon (Vol. I). London. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon. pp.76,83.
2) The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology and the Ministry of National Heritage.

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This page was last updated on 15 August 2019


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