Stone inscription with Tamil and Mandarin script found in China
MADURAI: A 13th century stone inscription with Tamil and Mandarin scripts has been discovered in Quanzhou, an ancient port city in Fujiyan province, South East China, and it has been deciphered by an amateur archaeologist in Dindigul.
Archaeologist V Narayanamoorthy said that many people with archaeology as common interest led by Orissa Balu, historian and Tamil researcher, had formed a group. There are over 110 members from over 100 countries in this group whose common interest is Tamil. WhatsApp was their main mode of communication, except for KiKi Zhang, alias Niraimadi, a lecturer from Yunnan Minzu university in China. She sent messages through email, which reached Narayanamoorthy.
A Tamil enthusiast, she had discovered the ancient inscription in Fujian province, which is a coastal region, through which global trade flourished in ancient times.
Narayanamoorthy, who is also a paleographist, was able to decipher some of the wordings. He was able to date the inscription to the 13th century as it matched the palaeography pertaining to that period.
Some of the letters have been damaged. After careful reading, he was able to determine the lines of a poem praising the king.
“It starts with the words, Hari Om and goes on to praise the greatness of Lord Shiva and seeks his blessings for the king,’’ he said, though there were some grammatical errors in the inscription.He said that lines like the first stanza of the poem had been found in copper and palm leaf manuscripts, found in many parts of Tamil Nadu. Many poems of this type have a common beginning and later talk of different topics, he said.
A similar stone inscription dating back to 1281 AD was discovered in the same city about 70 years ago, which had information about a temple for Lord Shiva being built in the region and it was called Kaneeswaram. This stone inscription too may have some connection to the temple, said Naryanamoorthy.
“What is outstanding in this inscription is that the Tamil writings are on top and the mandarin letters, which have withered away, at the bottom,’’ he said.
Source : TOI, Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department (www.tnarch.gov.in)