Thursday, December 24, 2020

Abhayagiriya Pillar Inscription of Kassapa IV

Abhayagiriya Pillar Inscription of King Kassapa IV
Abhayagiriya Pillar Inscription of King Kassapa IV is presently on the display at the Inscription Gallery of Colombo National Museum, Sri Lanka. 

Discovery
The inscription is said to have been found from a place near Abhayagiriya Stupa (Ranawella, 2005). It was published for the first time by H.C.P. Bell, the then Commissioner of Archaeology in 1918 (Ranawella, 2005). 

The pillar
The pillar is 11 feet tall and the width of each side is 10.5 inches (Ranawella, 2005). The upper part of it is ended with a Kalasa-shaped vase head. The bottom is not dressed, possibly to bury it underground.

The inscription has been engraved on three sides of the pillar. The first side contains 24 lines of writing and 25 lines each on the second and third faces (Ranawella, 2005). The fourth side contains the figure of a cobra, a monk's fan, a crow, and a dog from up to down (Ranawella, 2005). 

Content
The script and the language of the inscription are Sinhala of the 9-10th century A.D. (Ranawella, 2005). It is dated in the 6th regnal year of a king styled Sirisambo Abaha who, according to scholars, is King Kassapa IV [(898-914 A.D.) Ranawella, 2005]. The purport of the record was to register certain immunities granted by the king in respect of land named Mihindaratan-vatta (Ranawella, 2005). The income of that had been set aside to meet the cost of the medical treatments given to the monks of the Mangul-Piriven of Abhayagiri Viharaya (Ranawella, 2005).

References
1) Ranawella, S. (Ed.), 2005. Sinhala inscriptions in the Colombo National Museum: Spolia Zeylanica. Vol 42. (2005). Department of National Museums, Sri Lanka. pp.70-76.

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This page was last updated on 9 January 2021
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