- The Lord of the Elephant: Interpreting the Islamicate Epigraphic, Numismatic, and Literary Material from the Mrauk U Period of Arakan (ca. 1430−1784)
- Journal of Burma Studies
- University of Hawai'i Press
- Volume 19, Number 2, December 2015
- pp. 341-370
- View Citation
- Additional Information
With this article, I propose to revisit a corpus of multilingual inscriptions on coins, as well as one Persian stone inscription, whose dates range from the fifteenth to the first half of the seventeenth centuries of the Mrauk U period of Arakan (ca. 1430−1784). My primary aim is to revise the readings of some of those inscriptions and, with these revisions in mind, to reassess the significance of such texts in light of recent scholarship on the Mrauk U period. Rather than derive conclusions based on anecdotal evidence of the existence of an Islamicate idiom in Arakan during this period, I observe the internal features of those inscriptions and possible readings that could be made of the message they contain. I also extend my analysis beyond coin inscriptions and trace the various forms of the Arakanese royal title “Lord of the Elephant” and its use as a generic epithet associated with political power in later (ca. 17th−18th CE) Bengali Muslim literature.