In each post, I move through the alphabet, highlighting a BA tool that begins with the letter of the day.
Ancient Philippines and anything older that your grandma's war tales: This stone slab found in Ticao Island, Masbate appeared to have contained ancient Filipino scripts, better known as baybayin, on its both sides.
This important discovery sparked curiosity and doubts among scholars and history enthusiasts regarding the existence and antiquity of our own writing system and apparently our own literacy.
The Ticao stone tablet So how old really have we been doing this? It definitely shows then that Filipinos can actually read and write on our own scripts!
But do you know that prior to the discovery of the Rizal stone, there were other pre-Hispanic inscriptions discovered here in the Philippines? Some of them actually were even displayed at the National Museum!
Here are the four archaeologically known artifacts with inscriptions found in the Philippines: Found in Calatagan, The abcs of technical writing and its meaning hence the name in the s, this clay pot, is nothing out the ordinary — except that it contained scripts engraved around its shoulder.
Several scholars attempted to decipher most of these unrecognizable scripts and after some time like around 35 years!!
Although the scripts have been fully "decoded", we haven't seem to figure out what this inscription actually means. Attempts have been made to interpret the meaning of the Calatagan Pot inscription, ranging from a simple motherly message for her child to a much mystical ritual chant or charm.
Different languages were also used in interpretation, among those were old Malay, Tagalog, Bicolano, Visayan, Pangasinense, and even Waray!! Multiple interpretations indeed, it just show that there is still a huge room for more studies for us to understand the meaning of this inscription.
This thin 8xinch copper sheet was found in Lumban River around the late 80s. It contained old Javanese scripts known as Kawi. The inscription basically describes the acquittal of a debt which costs a certain amount of gold brought upon by a person of high position and his or her whole clan.
It also mentioned some places in the Philippines that might still exist in the present, most notable among them is Tundun or the present Tondo in Manila. The rest of the place names however were either be in Bulacan or somewhere around Laguna and Camarines Norte.
The copperplate is so accurate it actually recorded the year it was inscribed, which was Saka era or AD, making it the earliest calendar-dated historical document in the Philippines -- predating the Chinese and Spanish historical records! What's with these Javanese scripts?
You might think then it's kinda strange to have our ancestors use foreign system of writing, while in fact we have our own baybayin, as shown in the Calatagan pot and the Ticao stone.
Well, let's just put this in historical context The copperplate was inscribed around AD, which is more or less four centuries earlier than the Calatagan pot and perhaps the Ticao stone. Around that time Indianized kingdoms in Indonesia and Malaysia dominated most of the maritime affairs of Southeast Asia, from foreign trade to international relations.
The Philippines of course was no exception from this Indic influence, since they have established back then strong ties with their much influential neighbors of the south.
You could actually see this influence until now on our vocabulary diwata, salita, karma, guro, etc. Kawi writing definitely is one of the results of our constant contact and interactions with the Indianized cultures.
But where's our baybayin then? Well, our indigenous system of writing was believed to be of recent development, most likely from their earlier Indic predecessors -- including the Kawi script!!
So the baybayin might not yet existed around this time, but at least our ancestors were already knowledgable in writing and reading back then through these foreign scripts.
Another artifact of interest would be the ivory seal stamp found in Butuan City. Recovered from a shell midden ancient heap composed mostly of shells and sometimes with bits of animal bones, broken ceramics and other objects in the mid 80s, this stamp contained Kawi scripts similar to the Laguna Copperplate Inscription.
Again, another ancient object with foreign writing Just like the Laguna copperplate, the Kawi inscription in the ivory seal might mean something that is very familiar to us here in the Philippines.
To begin with, the inscription contained three primary scripts -- ba, ta and na. The curl beneath the first script ba is a diacritical vowel mark, which changes the syllable ba into bu.
Now, if you put all of these scripts with additional marks together, it would form the word butban. The inscription clearly refers to none other than our very own Butuan, the site where the ivory seal was found in the first place. This artifact was definitely used in marking or recording transactions, most likely for trade.
The date of the ivory seal is AD, which is around the same era as the Laguna copperplate wherein the Philippines was actively participating on maritime affairs with the Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms in Southeast Asia. Still in Butuan, our last artifact is this small silver strip discovered around the s, much earlier than the discovery of the ivory seal and around the same time the excavations of Pre-Hispanic wooden boats known as the balangay have been undertaken.
It was said to be found in association with wooden coffins, and such burials around this placed were believed to be around 14th to 15th century AD, based on the foreign Asian ceramics found with it.
Some Southeast Asian palaeographers believed the inscription is somewhat related to Javanese scripts another Kawi inscription perhaps?Technical analysis is a method of evaluating securities that involves a statistical analysis of market activity, such as price and volume.
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