Galle Trilingual Inscription

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Galle Trilingual Inscription
Gall Trilingual Inscription.jpg
Galle Trilingual inscription as displayed in the Colombo National Museum of Sri Lanka in December 2011
WritingChinese, Tamil and Persian
Discovered byS. H. Thomlin
Present locationNational Museum of Colombo

The Galle Trilingual Inscription is a stone tablet with an inscription in three languages, Chinese, Tamil and Persian, located in Galle, Sri Lanka. The stone tablet was installed by the Chineese admiral Zheng He under his second visit to the island in 1409.[1]

The text concerns offerings made by him and others to the mountain Adams Peak in Sri Lanka. The Chineese inscription mentions offerings to Buddha, the Persian in Arabic script to Allah and the Tamil inscription to Tenavarai Nayanar (Hindu god Vishnu).[2] The admiral invoked the blessings of Hindu deities here for a peaceful world built on trade.[3] The Tamil inscription mentions also a great festival held at the cape of Dondra in Sri Lanka.[4] The stele was discovered in Galle in 1911 and is now preserved in the Colombo National Museum.

On his third voyage, Zheng He sailed from China in 1409, and carried with him the trilingual tablet which he planned to erect in Sri Lanka. The date equates to 15 February 1409, indicating that it was inscribed in Nanjing before the fleet set out. The Chinese portion gives praise to the Buddha and records lavish offerings in his honour.

The tablet was found by an engineer, S. H. Thomlin, in 1911 in Galle. It can now be seen in the national museum in Sri Lanka. A modern replica of the stele has been installed in the Treasure Boat Shipyard Park in Nanjing, along with copies of other steles associated with the voyages of Zheng He.


1,000 pieces of gold; 5,000 pieces of silver; 50 rolls of embroidered silk in many colours; 50 rolls of silk taffeta, in many colours; 4 pairs of jewelled banners, gold embroidered and of variegated silk, 2 pairs of the same picked in red, one pair of the same in yellow, one pair in black; 5 antique brass incense burners; 5 pairs of antique brass flower vases picked in gold on lacquer, with gold stands; 5 yellow brass lamps picked in gold on lacquer with gold stands; 5 incense vessels in vermilion red, gold picked on lacquer, with gold stands; 6 pairs of golden lotus flowers; 2,500 catties of scented oil; 10 pairs of wax candles; 10 sticks of fragrant incense.



  1. ^ Aronin, Larissa; Hornsby, Michael; Kiliańska-Przybyło, Grażyna (2018-08-01). The Material Culture of Multilingualism. Springer. pp. v. ISBN 9783319911045.
  2. ^ Dewaraja, Lorna (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: 59–74 – via JSTOR.
  3. ^ Robert D. Kaplan. (2010) Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power
  4. ^ Society, Sri Lanka Geographical (1951). Bulletin. University of Colombo. p. 394.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]