[INDOLOGY] Re: Tamil tombstones inscriptions

Manu Francis manufrancis at gmail.com
Tue Feb 23 13:16:38 UTC 2021

Hi Bill,

Thanks for this interesting material!

I am willing to contribute ... if time permits ;-)

Could you share more (and higher-resolution) pictures?

Here is my quick reading and translation of one of these (“image3”).

(1) {piḷḷaiyār cūḻi}

(2) civalōkam· –

(3) pōṇavar·kaḷ· A-

(4) ṭaiyāḷam· –

(5) mut·tiyaṉ· Iraṇ- –

(6) ṭāvatu kumāṟaṉ

(7) cantirappiḷḷai –

(8) yeṟanta nāḷ …

(9) …

Sign/mark [of/for] one who has gone [to]/ reached the Śivalōka.

The day when Cantirappiḷḷai, the son of Muttiyaṉ the second, died (yeṟanta,
i.e. iṟanta) [is] … [the date appears to be stated in lines 8-9, which I am
unable to read.]

As for references, you could check

Cotton, Julian James. List of Inscriptions on Tombs or Monuments in Madras:

Historical or Archaeological Interest. 2 vols. Edited by B. S. Baliga.
Madras: Government

Press, 1946. [available, I think, on internet archives]

Here are some pictures of late-20th/21st-century epitaphs, dating back to
the good old days when fieldwork in India was possible. These were taken at
the entrance of an Aiyanar temple in Pudukkottai district, between Kīraṉūr
and Virālimalai:


Maybe knowledgeable colleagues in this list might enlighten me on this

With very best wishes.


Emmanuel FRANCIS <http://ceias.ehess.fr/index.php?1725>
Chargé de recherche CNRS, Centre d'études de l'Inde et de l'Asie du Sud
<http://ceias.ehess.fr/> (UMR 8564, EHESS-CNRS, Paris)
Online CV HAL <https://cv.archives-ouvertes.fr/emmanuel-francis>
DHARMA <https://dharma.hypotheses.org/> Project
<https://dharma.hypotheses.org/> (ERC synergy grant 2018)
TST Project <https://tst.hypotheses.org/> (FRAL 2018, ANR & DFG)
Regionalism & Cosmopolitism: South India <http://rcsi.hypotheses.org/>
Associate member, Centre for the Study of Manuscript Culture

Le mar. 23 févr. 2021 à 05:29, Bill Mak <bill.m.mak at gmail.com> a écrit :

> Dear friends,
> I am helping the local Hindu Association to catalogue some 19th century
> tombstones here in Hong Kong. I wonder if someone could help me to
> transcribe the Tamil inscription and to direct me to some resources on the
> practice of tombstone inscription in Tamil. I include some photos here.
> Please contact me either on or off list.
> Many thanks,
> Bill Mak
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