Thursday, December 24, 2020

Welmilla Slab Inscription of Sena III

Welmilla Slab Inscription of Sena III
A slab inscription popularly known as Welmilla Slab Inscription of King Sena III is presently on the display at the Inscription Gallery of Colombo National Museum, Sri Lanka.

The slab was discovered in 1931, in Batathumbagaha-watta garden in Welmilla village in Kalutara District (Paranavitana, 1933). According to local tradition, the villagers, many years ago, had dug a pit near the place where this slab was found in search of imaginary treasures (Paranavitana, 1933). After finding none, they had thrown it into the pit, where it remained buried until it was brought to the surface in the 1920s (Paranavitana, 1933). It was brought to the present location in order to preserve it from further damage (Paranavitana, 1933).

The slab
The inscription has been engraved on an irregularly shaped stone slab (Paranavitana, 1933; Ranawella, 2005). The obverse and reverse faces as well as the two sides formed by the slab's thickness contain the writings of the record. However, some parts of the record are missing today due to the natural weathering and fragmented state of the slab (Paranavitana, 1933; Ranawella, 2005).

There are 18 and 26 lines of writings on the obverse and reverse sides of the slab (Ranawella, 2005). Drawings of a crow and a dog are found at the base of the obverse side. The other two sides contain 30 and 27 lines of writings (Ranawella, 2005).

The script and the language of the inscription are Sinhala of the 10th century A.D. (Ranawella, 2005). It is dated in the 8th regnal year of a king styled Mahasen Abha who, according to scholars, is King Sena III [(938-946 A.D.) Paranavitana, 1933; Ranawella, 2005]. The purport of the inscription was to register certain immunities granted in respect of a rent payable on Pamunu land which had been assigned to a person named Kitalna (Ranawella, 2005).

1) Paranavitana, S., 1933. (Edited and translated by Wickremasinghe, D.M.D.Z.; Codrington, H.W.) Velmilla slab-inscription of Sena III. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. III. Printed at the Department of Government Printing, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) for the Archeological Department. pp.294-302.
2) 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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