Stele inscriptions establish Champa Kingdom’s Central Highlands presence

By Tran Hoa   October 6, 2019 | 10:24 pm PT
Stele inscriptions establish Champa Kingdom’s Central Highlands presence
Champa inscriptions found on a stele in Gia Lai Province in Vietnam's Central Highlands. Photo by VnExpress/Tran Hoa.
Experts have deciphered 11 lines on a stele discovered nine years ago in Gia Lai, showing the Champa Kingdom’s reach in the Central Highlands.

The inscription reads in part: "All hail the supreme lord of the Kings, son of King Jayasinhavarma of House Vrsu, aristocrat of royal city Nauk Vijaya ...," according to experts from the French School of the Far East (EFEO).

Due to wear and tear of time, only a part of the inscription was decipherable, the experts said.

Archaeologists have dated the stele back to the 15th century Saka era and the rule of King Yura Bhadravarman Deva, around 1438 – 1439. The stele is a rare testament to the final days of Champa Kingdom.

According to Andrew Hardy, head of the EFEO center in Hanoi, a Champa King visited the area and erected it. "The Champa stele found in Tu Luong has become a part of global archaeological map," he added.

A farmer discovered the Champa stele in Tu Luong Village, Dak Po District, Gia Lai Province, in 2010. The granite stele is 220 cm long, 180 cm wide and 140 cm thick. It has what looks like Pali language inscriptions on two sides, eight lines on the front and three on the other.

Nguyen Quang Tue, head of the Gia Lai Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, consulted multiple linguists and cultural scholars but nobody could translate the inscriptions.

Eight years later, French professor Arlo Griffiths of EFEO - head of Champa Manuscript Collection project and Cambodian expert Khom Sreymom stamped copies of the inscriptions in order to read and translate them.

After a month, three copies of the inscriptions were made. Professor Griffiths gifted two to the Gia Lai Museum and Dak Po Communal House. The remaining copy is to be a part of EFEO’s library.

However, when the inscription was published last Friday, there was no mention of the original language found on the stele.

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