Sunday, April 18, 2021

Arabic Inscriptions in Sri Lanka

Arabic Inscriptions in Sri Lanka
A small number of Arabic inscriptions have been found in Sri Lanka from maritime regions as well as from hinterland. The majority of them are tombstones while some others are votive in character. The percentage of the number of Arabic inscriptions in Sri Lanka is considerably very low when it compares to the amount of Sinhala inscriptions (majority language) recorded so far in the country.

The records date between the 9th -15th century period. The script used generally was Kufic, but other scripts such as Naskh and Farisi (Persian) have also been reported.

The list of Arabic inscriptions
This is an incomplete list prepared by "Lanka Pradeepa".
 
No. Inscription Remarks References
1 Puliyantivu inscription
(Mannar District)
A tombstone
9th century A.D.
Dasanayaka, 2007;
Kalus & Guillot, 2006
2 Anuradhapura-Puttalam road inscription
(unknown place)
??
9th century A.D.
Dasanayaka, 2007;
Kalus & Guillot, 2006
3 Fragmentary Arabic inscription, Colombo National Museum
(unknown place)
??
after the 9th century A.D.
Kalus & Guillot, 2006
4 Jawatta cemetery inscription
(Colombo District)
A tombstone
949 A.D.
Ali, 2014;
Kalus & Guillot, 2006
5 Mantai inscription
(Thiruketheeswaram, Mannar District)
A tombstone
11th century A.D.
Kalus & Guillot, 2006
6 Bhagavalena inscription
(Ratnapura District)
A religious text
13 century A.D.
Dasanayaka, 2007;
Dewaraja, 1994
7 Nicholson Cove inscription, Trincomalee
(Trincomalee District)
A tombstone
1329 A.D. or 1523 A.D.
Devendra, 1968;
Kalus & Guillot, 2006
8 Trincomalee dockyard inscription
(Trincomalee District)
A tombstone
1405 A.D.
Kalus & Guillot, 2006;
Dasanayaka, 2007
9 Kuragala inscriptions (probably non authentic)
(Ratnapura District)
Tombstones, inscribed stones etc.
10-16th century A.D.
Somadeva, 2014; Kalus & Guillot, 2006
10 Galle Trilingual slab inscription
(Galle District)
A votive text
15 February 1409
Dewaraja, 2006;
Kalus & Guillot, 2006
11 Ellupitty inscription
(Mannar District)
A tombstone
??
Dasanayaka, 2007;
Kalus & Guillot, 2006
12 Talapitiya mosque inscription
(Galle District)
??
??
Kalus & Guillot, 2006
13 Hemmatagama inscriptions
(Madulbowa in Kegalle District)
Three tombstones
??
Kalus & Guillot, 2006
14 Mannar inscription
(Mannar District)
??
??
Kalus & Guillot, 2006

References
1) Ali, A., 2014. Muslims in harmony and conflict in plural Sri Lanka: A historical summary from a religio-economic and political perspective. Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 34(3), pp.227-242.
2) Dasanayaka, R., 2017. Arabs in Serandib: Trade relations between Sri Lanka and West Asia from ancient time to 15th century A. D.: Historical and Archaeological Survey. S. Godage & Brothers. ISBN: 978-955-30. pp.344-358.
3) Devendra, S., 1968. Arabic Gravestone from Trincomalee Dockyard. The Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society: New Series: Vol XIV. pp.28-35.
4) Dewaraja, L.S., 1994. The Muslims of Sri Lanka: one thousand years of ethnic harmony, 900-1915. Lanka Islamic Foundation.p.33. 
5) Dewaraja, L., 2006. Cheng Ho's Visits to Sri Lanka and the Galle Trilingual Inscription in the National Museum in Colombo. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka, 52, pp.59-74.
6) Kalus, L. and Guillot, C., 2006. Réinterprétation des plus anciennes stèles funéraires islamiques nousantariennes: III. Sri Lanka (In French). Archipel, 72(1), pp.15-68.
7) Somadeva, R., 2014. කූරගල ගවේශනය 2014: අදියර 1. (In Sinhala) pp.31-32.

This page was last updated on 26 April 2021
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