Ancient stone inscription found in Myittha

King Sawlu’s inscription seen in Myittha, Mandalay (Photo – EMG)

The stone inscription of King Sawlu of the Bagan dynasty was found in Myittha, Mandalay and is believed to be the earliest stone inscription to date in Myanmar, experts say.

This inscription is the first inscription in Myanmar made in multiple languages and included Myanmar, Sanskrit, Pyu, Pyu Sanskrit, Mon and Yun.

King Sawlu’s stone inscription predates the Myazedi inscription by 60 years, according to experts.

"Although stones had been inscribed during King Anarawhta’s era, there are only recasts of his stone inscriptions so you can say that King Sawlu’s inscription is the earliest inscription. Five languages were first found on the inscription and then another language was found later. So, there are six languages now. Experts are now studying the inscription," said Win Maung, a traditional architect. 

The first three pillars were found in Petaw monastery in Myittha, Mandalay on November 17 and the remaining pillar was found on November 27.

One slab contains a total of 29 lines - 6 lines in Myanmar, 14 lines in Pyu Sanskrit, and 7 lines in Pyu. Another contains a total of 27 lines – 8 lines in Sanskrit, 15 lines in Mon, 4 lines in Yun.

According to the translation made by Mon inscription expert Naing Ba Shin, the inscription was inscribed in 1053 AD (Myanmar year 415) and it describes King Sawlu’s donation of a Buddha image, two smaller Budddha images, slaves, cows, farmlands, and rice. 

The inscription includes curses and wishes and the pillar inscribed in Pyu Sanskrit stated that three Buddha images had been donated. 

According to Win Maung, the last pillar found is believed to be inscribed with either Myanmar or Dewanargiri, an ancient Sanskrit language. 

The inscription will be re-erected in the Petaw monastery, where it was found.