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Yaza Kumar (ရာဇကုမာရ်)

Burmese. Name of an 11-12th Century AD Prince of Bagan, i.e. the son of King Kyansittha (fig.) and titular governor of north Arakan, that is present-day Rakhine State. He is best known for the 1112-1113 AD Yaza Kumar Stone Inscription, named after him and which he dedicated to his father's honour. This quadrangular, sandstone pillar has four faces, with on each side an inscription of the same text in four different languages, namely Pyu, Mon, Pali, and Burmese, i.e. the language of the Bamar. The stone inscription has scholarly significance because it has allowed for the deciphering of the Pyu language, in a way akin to how the Rosetta Stone Inscriptions provided the key to the modern understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs. In addition, it is an important source of Bagan history. There are actually two identical contemporary pillars, which are individually also referred to as the Gu Byauk Gyi Zedi Myinkaba (fig.) or Gu Byauk Gyi Inscription and the Myazedi Phaya (fig.) or Mya Zedi Inscription (fig.). These names derive from the temples near the places where the pillars were discovered in 1886-1887 AD, in the early days of the British colonial rule, by Dr. E. Forchammer, a German medical doctor and scholar, and the first superintendent of the Burma Branch of the Epigraphic Office of the Archaeological Survey of India. The pillar discovered near Mya Zedi was first found broken in pieces, which were joined and set up on a platform at Mya Zedi Pagoda. The Gu Byauk Gyi Inscription, an identical copy, is today on display at the Bagan Archaeological Museum (fig.). Prince Yaza Kumar's name may also be transcribed Yazakumar, Yaza Kuma or Yaza Kumara.