standing Buddha; inscription on pedestal
Licchavi Lipi, by Dr. Nayanath Paudel
In my recently published book titled Licchavi Lipi, I have studied in detail the inscription on the pedestal of the bronze statue of the standing Buddha located in the Cleveland Museum. I decided that Dr. Gautamavajra Vajracharya's date of 513 is not correct: the date of this inscription is 113. 
The title of the thirteenth chapter of the book is “Numerical system in Licchavi script” (Licchavi lipimā saṅkhyālēkhana paddhati) In this chapter, after a detailed study of the numerals available in the records of the Lichchavi period, it was shown that the writing system of the Lichchavi period used a total of twenty-eight types of numerals. This article quotes a small part of the thirteenth chapter of my book, which includes my discussions of the inscription on the base of the Cleveland Buddha.
Table No. 13:25
Writing year dates in Licchavi script (100+)
The table above presents three examples of the Samvat dates over 100, starting with the date 103 (top). In this first example, the letter “A” is used to indicate “100”, and by writing the mark of 3 (three horizontal stripes) on the right side, the year 103 has been made. In the second example we see the number 100 (again, the letter “A”) has been combined with the number 9 to form the date 109. In the third example, to write the year 113, first the letter “A” denoting the number 100 was written and then, to the right of that, the symbol for the number 10, and then again on the right the symbol for the number 3 (in this case similar to the modern Devanagari “3”). In the Licchavi script, as in other systems, numbers are written left to right. [ed. In Licchavi dates the left most date represent the “hundreds place” (śatasthāna), the middle place the “tens place” (daśasthāna) and the rightmost the “ones place” (ekasthāna) (see LL, first page of chapter 13)].
Here the first example, the date (MS) 103 (= CE 679) jyaiṣṭha śukladivātrayōdaśyām, is taken from the inscription of Narendradeva’s Vajraghar in Deopatan  while the second example, date (MS) 109 (= CE 685), is taken from the inscription of Rato Machhindranath's temple . These are examples of 103 and 109 marks.
The third example, the date (MS) 113 (= CE 689) is taken from the inscription on the pedestal of the statue of the bronze standing Buddha of the Cleveland Museum . Gautam Vajra Vajracharya read the Samvat year of this inscription on the pedestal of the statue of the Standing Buddha in the Cleveland Museum as (SS) 513 (= CE 591) , but based on the script, the Samvat number appears to be (MS) 113.
Now, in discussing this issue, it has to be decided whether the hundreds (śatasthāna) character of the year in this inscription is 100 or 500. For this, we have to look at some of the examples of the morphology of 100 characters and the morphology of 500 characters found in the records of the Licchavi period.
These characters are as follows—
Table No. 13:26
About the shape of the 100 mark and the 500 mark in the Licchavi script
The table above shows in the left column examples of the character representing “100”, while the right column shows examples of the character representing “500” in Licchavi inscriptions.
In the top row, the left example of 100 character in Mānikayā 150 presented in the table above is taken from the inscription of Khapinche-tol in Patan of Vasantadeva’s time dated (SS) 452 (= CE 530)  while on the right, the example of 500 marks in the year (SS) 512 (= CE 590) is taken from the inscription of Shivadeva + Bhaumagupta at the foot of Vishnupaduka .
In the second row, the example of the 100 character in the year (MS) 113 (= CE 591) is taken from the inscription on the pedestal of the statue of Standing Buddha in the Cleveland Museum , while on the right the example of the 500 mark in the year (SS) 516 (= CE 594) is taken from the inscription of Patan Bhimsensthan of Śivadeva + Aṃśuvarmā.
In the third row, the example of the 100 character in the year (MS) 118 (= CE 694) is taken from the inscription in Nala of the time of Śivadeva II . while the example of the 500 character in the year (SS) 516 (CE 594) is taken from the record of Śivadeva + Aṃśuvarmā in Bhaktapur Golmadhi tol .
In the fourth row, the example of the 100 character in the year (MS) 148 ( = CE 724) is taken from the inscription of Minanatha  while the example of 500 character in the year (SS) 520 (= CE 598) is taken from the inscription of Śivadeva + Aṃśuvarmā in the Dharmapur .
Finally, in the fifth row, the example of the 100 character in the year (MS) 157 (= CE 733) is taken from Jayadeva II's important Pashupati inscription  while the example of the 500 character in the year (SS) 520 (= CE 598) is taken from the inscription of Śivadeva + Aṃśuvarmā's at Khopasi .
Thus the table above presents examples of the figure of 100 and the figure of 500 which are engraved in various records of the Licchavi period. What is clear from these examples is that if the letter “A” is alone, its value is 100. Adding two horizontal marks to the right side of the letter “A” gives the value 500. 
In the image shown above on the left, when writing the year (MS) 157 (= CE 733) in Jayadeva II's Pashupati's inscription , no added lines appear to be drawn on the right side of the main vertical bar of the letter “A". In the inscription of Śivadeva + Aṃśuvarmā at Khopasi , when writing the year 520, the main bar of the letter “A” is drawn, and on the right side, two lines are drawn and slightly bent down.Therefore, the number 100 and the number 500 can be easily identified from the two images shown above.
Let us now look at the inscription on the pedestal of the statue of the Standing Buddha at the Cleveland Museum .
In the image shown above, and in fig 2 and Fig. 2 detail, from the inscription on the pedestal of the statue of the Standing Buddha at the Cleveland Museum , it is clear that no line has been drawn to the right of the main bar of the letter “A”. Therefore, it can be clearly stated that it is only the letter “A” and its value is “100”.
Now let's also consider the character for “3” in the Cleveland inscription from the paleographic point of view - Scribe expert Shankarman Rajbanshi in his book Licchavi Script Collection said, “The number 3 has three stripes in the Lichchhavi script. In (more) recent times, it has been found to be like the “3” digit of the present Devanagari alphabet.” 
Looking at the records of the Licchavi period, this statement seems to be correct. Let's look at two examples:
On the left, in the inscription of Aṃśuvarmā of Hadigaun , of the year (MS) 32 (= CE 608) where “Devasya Pu 3” is written, three stripes are given for the mark of 3. On the right, in the inscription on the pedestal of the statue of the Standing Buddha in the Cleveland Museum , when writing the year 113, for the 3, it is found that a character almost identical to the present Devanagari letter for 3 has been used. From this, it is clear that this record is of a later date. [***Ed In the slightly later inscription of the date (MS) 103 (= CE 679) shown above in Table No. 13:25  we find the same use of 3 stripes for the “3”. This is only ten years earlier that the Cleveland Buddha inscription, indicating that the Cleveland inscription shows a relatively recent development. We plan to add a section to this article with a more complete analysis of the characters for the number 3 in the Licchavi period in the near future].
Therefore, from the above example and discussion, the symbol for “100” on the base of the Standing Buddha (Cleveland) is only the letter “A”, it does not have the horizontal lines attached to it indicating “500”; and it looks a little later from the point of view of the rest of the script, especially the use of a later version of the character for 3. Thus Gautamavajra Vajracharya’s reading of the year (SS) 513 (= CE 591) in this inscription is not correct: it can be concluded that the correct reading is Samvat (MS) 113 (= CE 689) 98 years later than previously supposed.
|AS:||Abhilekha-saṃgraha (Abhilekha-saṃgraha and Saṃśodhana-maṇḍala 1961-1964)|
|Bendall:||A Journey of Literary and Archaeological Research . . . (Bendall 1974)|
|DV:||Vajracharya, Dhanavajra, 1975 Licchavikalaka abhilekha|
|DV MS:||Mary Slusser, 1982. In Nepal Mandala followed the numbers assigned to the inscriptions in DV|
|Gnoli:||Nepalese Inscriptions in Gupta Characters (Gnoli 1956)|
|Indraji:||Inscriptions from Nepal (Bhagwanlal Indraji and G. Bühler 1880)|
|Joshi:||Nepālako prācīna abhilekha(H. R. Joshi 1973)|
|Levi:||Le Népal, vol. 3 (Levi 1908)|
|MS:||Mary Shepherd Slusser, 1982. Nepal Mandala Appendix IV, p. 403|
|Pūrṇimā:||(Full Moon). A Nepali-language quarterly of the research of Saṃśodhana-maṇḍala|
|Regmi:||Regmi, D. R. 1983. Inscriptions of Ancient Nepal. New Delhi: Abhinav. Citations give Vol III page number and inscription number: eg. 128:37 = Vol. III p. 128, no. 37|
|SS:||Saṃskṛta-sandeśa; (The Sanskrit Message). A monthly Sanskrit-language journal 1953-1954|
Czuma, Stanislaw, 1970, “A Gupta Style Bronze Buddha”, CMA Bulletin, LVII, 2, (Feb 1970) Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art)
Gnoli, Raniero, 1956, (Gnoli) Nepalese Inscriptions in Gupta Characters. Serie Orientale Roma, 10 Materials for the Study of Nepalese History and Culture, no. 2, 2 parts. Rome: Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente.
Indraji, Bhagvanlal, and G. Bühler, 1880. (Indraji) “Inscriptions from Nepal,” Indian Antiquary, 9, 163-194.
Joshi, Hari Ram 1973. (Joshi) Nepālako prācīna abhilekha (Ancient Nepalese Inscriptions). Kathmandu: Nepāla Rājakiya Prajnā-pratisthāna, v.s. 2030.
Levi, Sylvain 1905-1908. (Levi) Le Népal, étude historique d’un royaume 1908 hindou. 3 vols. Vols. 1, 2, 1905; vol. 3, n1908. Paris: Ernest Leroux.
Paudel, Nayanath 2022, (LL) Licchavi Lipi. Kathmandu: Pramila Paudel, 2078 Chaitra 27, Rāmnavami
Rajbanshi, Shankar Man, 1964, Licchavilipi-samgraha [A Collection of Licchavi Characters] (Kathmandu: Bir Library, VS 2021 [ 1964 ]
Regmi, D. R. 1983. (Regmi) Inscriptions of Ancient Nepal. New Delhi: Abhinav. Vol. I pp xxiiii +190; II, pp. xxiii + 131; III, pp. XV + 280
Slusser, Mary Shepherd, 1982. (MS) Nepal mandala : A cultural study of the Kathmandu Valley. Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press
Vajracharya, Dhanavajra, 1975 (DV) Licchavikālaka abhilekha (Licchavi Period Inscriptions). Institute of Nepal and Asian Studies, Historical Collections Series, no. 6. Kathmandu: Institute of Nepal and Asian Studies, Tribhuvan University.
Vajracharya, Dhanavajra, 1975. “Decisions on Samvat Numerals Appearing in Records of the Licchavi Period” Pūrṇima, Pūrṇāṅka 19, 2025, p.186. (धनवज्र वज्राचार्य, “लिच्छविकालका अभिलेखमा देखा परेका संवतका अङ्कको निर्णय” पूर्णिमा पूर्णाङ्क १९, २०२५, पृ.१८६)
Vajracharya, Gautamavajra, 1975, reading and translation of the inscription on the base of the Cleveland Buddha, p. 93 in Appendix in Slusser, Mary Shepherd, 1975, “On the Antiquity of Nepalese Metalcraft”, Archives of Asian Art, XXIX, (1975-76) pp 80-95
1. Nayanath Paudel, Licchavi Lipi. Kathmandu: Pramila Paudel, 2078 Chaitra 27, Ramnavami; chapter 13, pp 568 - 573.
2. Regmi. 128:37; Indrajï 13; Gnoli 73; Pūrṇimā 4:2, 119-121; Joshi 137; DV MS 133.
3. v. 0: 1; AS 5 p. 10; Joshi 138. DV 137.
4. v. 0: 4; MS 194.
5. (MS 194) Mary Shepherd Slusser and Gautamavajra Vajracharya, “on the Antiquity of Nepalese Metalcraft” Archives of Asian Art vol 29, 1975-76, p. 80-95.
6. Regmi. 26: 3; AS I, p. 25; Joshi 31; DV MS 28.
7. Regmi. 49:19; Pūrṇimā 4:3, 331-332; Joshi 57 DV MS 54.
8. v. 0: 4, MS 194.
9. Regmi. 54:15; IP I, p p . 55-56; Gnoli 23 Pūrṇimā 5:2, 102-103; Joshi 63; DV MS 60.
10. Regmi. 131: 1; AS 5, p. 11 Joshi 140; DV MS 138.
11. Regmi. 55:15; Bendall 1; Gnoli 24; Pūrṇimā 5:2, 103; Joshi 64; DV MS 61.
12. Regmi 140:18; Indrajï 14; Gnoli 80; Joshi 152; DV MS 146.
13. Regmi. 62:22; Levi 11; Gnoli 30; Joshi 70; DV MS 67.
14. Gnoli 81:35; Indrajï 15; SS 1:1, 1-7; Joshi 155; DV MS 148.
15. Regmi. 63:18; Levi 12; Gnoli 31; Joshi 71; DV MS 68.
16. ed. The character for 300 is quite similar to the character for 500 in Licchavi script; see Paudel VS 2078 (2022) Licchavi Lipi, pp 536-543, especially tables 13-11 - 13-12
17. Gnoli 81:35; Indrajï 15; SS 1:1, 1-7; Joshi 155: DV MS 148.
18. Regmi. 63:18; Levi 12; Gnoli 31; Joshi 71; DV MS 68.
19. v. 0: 4.
20. v. 0: 4 MS 194.
21. Rajbanshi, Shankar Man, 1964, Licchavilipi-samgraha [A Collection of Licchavi Characters] (Kathmandu: Bir Library, VS 2021  , p. dha.
22. Regmi. 74:13; Levi 14; Gnoli 36; Pūrṇimā 4:2, 123 ; DV MS 77.
23. v: 0: 4; MS 194.
24. Regmi. 128:37; Indrajï 13; Gnoli 73; Pūrṇimā 4:2, 1 1 9-121; Joshi 137; DV and MS 133.