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Bagan: Ancient Capital of Myanmar

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Stone Inscriptions

Inscriptions are words or letters written, engraved, painted, or otherwise traced on a surface and can appear in contexts both small and monumental. Coin texts and monumental carvings on buildings are both included by historians as types of inscriptions. The study of inscriptions is epigraphy.

Types of inscription

  • Abecedarium
  • Chronogram
  • Epitaph on a headstone
  • Epigraph
  • Ex libris
  • Memento mori
  • Monumental inscription
  • Rune stone

Earliest Myanmar Writing | Myazedi Stone Inscription

Earliest Myanmar Writing

The Myanmar or Burmese script developed from the Mon script, which was adapted from a southern Indian script during the 8th century. The earliest known inscriptions in the Myanmar script date from the 11th century.

Notable Features
Like many other Indian and South East Asian alphabets, the Myanmar script is a syllabic alphabet: each letter has an inherent vowel [a]. Other vowels sounds are indicated using separate letters or diacritics which appear above, below, in front of, after or around the consonant.

The rounded appearance of letters is a result of the use of palm leaves as the traditional writing material. Straight lines would have torn the leaves. The Myanmar name for the script is ca-lonh 'round script'.

Myanmar is a tonal language with three main tones (high, low and creaky) and two other tones (stopped and reduced). The tones are indicates in writing using diacritics or special letters.

Myazedi Stone Inscription or Rajakumara Stone Inscription

Prince Rajakumara, son of King Kyansittha inscribed this stone inscription in AD 1113. Although he missed the chance of succeeding to the throne because King Kyansittha had chosen the grandson Alaungsithu as his immediate successor, Rajakumara was still loyal to his father. Rajakumara harbored no ill will or grudge against his father. He even showed his filial love and gratitude. This stone inscription was discovered at the foot of Myazedi Pagoda near Myinkaba Village to the south of old Bagan. A similar stone inscription was found in an old building near Myazedi Pagoda. It is now set up at the southeast corner of the precinct of Myazedi Pagoda. Both stone pillars have each four faces on which are inscribed in Pali, Pyu, Mon and Myanmar languages recording the same subject. The Myazedi stone inscription was one of the earliest writings discovered so far in the history of Myanmar literature. The stone pillar measures 55 inches high, 14 inches long and 14 inches broad.

Pyu Language

 
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Myanmar Language

 

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Mon Language

 

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Pali Language

 

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