Burmese Votive Tablets by Dr. Richard M. Cooler
The most numerous and, perhaps, the most intimate objects from the Pagan period are the clay votive tablets that were stamped out and signed by many kings and nobles. The creation of these tablets, each displaying at least one image of the Buddha and some including over 100 images, was thought to produce good merit for its maker. The incentive for their creation is not in doubt, like so much concerning the Pagan Period, because many donors wrote and signed their intentions on the back of the tablet. King Anawratha’s tablets state that “This Buddha was made, with his own hands, by Sri Maharaja Aniruddhadeva, with the object of emancipation [i.e. gaining Nirvanna]”. Anawratha’s tablets had his tablets inserted into religious foundations throughout his kingdom.
The face of the tablet often displays a Buddha in bhumisparsa mudra seated within a temple that is similar to the one constructed at Bodhgaya, India, where the Buddha achieved enlightenment. Two lines of Sanskrit in North Indian characters of the 10th to 11th centuries is often imprinted below the Buddha images. This is a statement of the Buddhist creed in its most compressed and basic form: “The Buddha hath the causes told, Of all things springing from causes, And also how things cease to be, Tis this the Mighty Monk proclaims”.
Although the use of votive tablets at Pagan continued a tradition that originated in India and some tablets found in the two countries are identical, it is clear that votive plaques were created at Pagan because bronze and clay molds have been discovered there. Also, the Pagan donors signed many of the plaques in script.
Verso writing states
tablet made by King Anawratha’s
wife, Oueen Chipe