Posted on Friday, 7th May 2010 by All Philippines

In 1989, a Filipino sand laborer working at the Lumbang River near the vicinity of Laguna de Bay discovered a darkened rolled metal (approx. less than 8 x 12 inches) with strange inscriptions while scavenging for sand to be used as construction material. Believing that his discovery might be worth something, the laborer sold it to an antique dealer in Manila. The dealer later sold the artifact to Alfredo E. Evangelista, head of the Anthropology Division of the National Museum of the Philippines, due to lack of interests from private collectors.

The following year, the metal artifact – restored and labeled as the Laguna Copperlate Inscription (LCI) by the National Museum of the Philippines, was studied by Dutch anthropologist and a long time resident of the Mangyan highlands in Mindoro, Antoon Postma. Armed with a vast knowledge of ancient writing scripts in the Southeast Asian region and with the help of fellow Dutchman and expert on ancient Indonesian writing scripts, Dr. Johann de Casparis, Postma traced the inscriptions on the LCI and discovered that it was related to the ancient Indonesian writng script called Kavi. With this discovery, Postma translated the script found in the LCI based on the Kavi script. During the translation process, he found that the LCI was dated in the Saka year 822; Dr. de Casparis later confirmed that the LCI document was using the old Hindu calendar which in our present calendar system would correspond to 900 C.E. (Common Era). The LCI was later officially dated in 1996 by Hector Santos, a Filipino anthropological enthusiast from California. Using state of the art anthropological devices, Santos discovered the exact date the LCI Sanskrit date was forged – it was on Monday, April 21, 900 C.E.

According to the Postma translation, the texts inscribed on the LCI were written as a documented pardon from the Chief of Tundun (Tondo) to clear the debt of a man named Namwaran and his living descendants of one kati and 8 suwarna (about 926.4 grams of gold) he owed to the Chief of Dewata.

The following is the Romanization of the texts found in the Laguna Copperplate Inscription and it’s English translations.



LCI Romanization by Hector Santos

Line 1:
swasti shaka warshatita 822 waisakha masa ding jyotisha. chaturthi krishnapaksha so-
Line 2:
mawara sana tatkala dayang angkatan lawan dengannya sanak barngaran si bukah
Line 3:
anakda dang hwan namwaran di bari waradana wi shuddhapat(t)ra ulih sang pamegat senapati di tundu-
Line 4:
n barja(di) dang hwan nayaka tuhan pailah jayadewa. di krama dang hwan namwaran dengan dang kaya-
Line 5:
stha shuddha nu di parlappas hutangda wale(da)nda kati 1 suwarna 8 di hadapan dang hwan nayaka tuhan pu-
Line 6:
liran ka sumuran. dang hwan nayaka tuhan pailah barjadi ganashakti. dang hwan nayaka tu-
Line 7:
han binwangan barjadi bishruta tathapi sadanda sanak kaparawis ulih sang pamegat de-
Line 8:
wata [ba]rjadi sang pamegat medang dari bhaktinda di parhulun sang pamegat. ya makanya sadanya anak
Line 9:
chuchu dang hwan namwaran shuddha ya kaparawis di hutangda dang hwan namwaran di sang pamegat dewata. ini gerang
Line 10:
syat syapanta ha pashchat ding ari kamudyan ada gerang urang barujara welung lappas hutangda dang hwa …

LCI English Translation

Antoon Postma Version (1992)

Line 1:
Hail! In the Saka-year 822; the month of March-April; according to the astronomer: the 4th day of the dark half of the moon; on
Line 2:
Monday. At that time, Lady Angkatan together with her relative, Bukah by name,
Line 3:
the child of His Honor Namwran, was given, as a special favor, a document of full acquittal, by the Chief and Commander of Tundun,
Line 4:
the former Leader of Pailah, Jayadewah. To the effect that His Honor Namwran, through the Honorable Scribe
Line 5:
was totally cleared of a debt to the amount of 1 kati and 8 suwarna (weight of gold), in the presence of His Honor the Leader of Puliran,
Line 6:
Kasumuran; His Honor the Leader of Pailah, namely: Ganasakti; (and) His Honor the Leader
Line 7:
of Binwangan, namely: Bisruta. And (His Honor Namwran) with his whole family, on orders by the Chief of Dewata,
Line 8:
representing the Chief of Mdang, because of his loyalty as a subject (slave?) of the Chief, therefore all the descendants
Line 9:
of His Honor Namwran have been cleared of the whole debt that His Honor owed the Chief of Dewata. This (document) is (issued) in case
Line 10:
there is someone, whosoever, some time in the future, who will state that the debt is not yet acquitted of His Honor…

Hector Santos Version (1996)

Literal Translation

We begin with a literal translation which attempts to maintain the same word order while trying to make the English text still readable.

Phrase 1:
Blessings, Shaka-related year 822, Waisakha month, by astronomy.
Phrase 2:
Fourth day of dark half of the moon, Monday, there at that time Lady Angkatan together with her relative named Bukah, children of the honorable Namwaran are given a wish, a gift of full clearance document by the chief, commander-in-chief at Tundun, who is the honorable minister lord Pailah, Jayadewa.
Phrase 3:
By order, the honorable Namwaran through the scribe is cleared and forgiven of his debt and his arrears of 1 kati and 8 suwarnas in front of the honorable minister lord Puliran, Ka Sumuran.
Phrase 4:
The honorable minister lord Pailah is source of authority.
Phrase 5:
The honorable minister lord Binwangan, who is famous, looked attentively at all his (Namwaran’s) living relatives all gotten by chief Dewata, who is chief Medang, on account of his devotion as subject of the chief.
Phrase 6:
Yes, therefore all living descendants of the honorable Namwaran are cleared, yes, of all debts of the honorable Namwaran to the chief Dewata.
Phrase 7:
This, in case who will say in future day, sometime, there will perhaps be a man who says not yet cleared is debt of the honorable …

Free Translation

This is easier to understand because it freely translates the original text, making it more readable in English.

Phrase 1:
Greetings! Shaka year 822, month of Waisakha, according to the stars.
Phrase 2:
On the fourth day of the waning moon, Monday, Lady Angkatan and her brother Bukah, children of the Honorable Namwaran, were given a gift of their wish, this document of full forgiveness by the Commander-in-Chief of Tundun, represented by the Honorable Lord Minister of Pailah, Jayadewa.
Phrase 3:
By this order through the scribe, the Honorable Namwaran is cleared and forgiven of his debt and his arrears of 1 kati and 8 suwarnas as witnessed by the Honorable Lord Minister of Puliran, Ka Sumuran.
Phrase 4:
The Honorable Lord Minister of Pailah was the source of authority.
Phrase 5:
On account of Namwaran’s devotion as a subject of the chief, the Honorable Lord Minister of Binwangan, who is known in many places, identified all of Namwaran’s living relatives who were taken by the Chief of Dewata, represented by the Chief of Medang.
Phrase 6:
As a consequence, all living descendants of the Honorable Namwaran are also cleared of all debts that the Honorable Namwaran owed the Chief of Dewata.
Phrase 7:
This document is issued in case there is someone in the future who will allege that the debt has not been cleared yet by the Honorable …

 

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