Object of the month - December

Silver tablet carrying an imperial edict in Phags-pa script, silver, Yuan dynasty (1260–1368), Inner Mongolia Museum

Silver tablet carrying an imperial edict in Phags-pa script, silver, Yuan dynasty (1260–1368), Inner Mongolia Museum

Imperial edict in Phags-pa script: a silver decree

This imperial edict of the Yuan dynasty is written on a silver tablet. The script translates as:

Under the power of the eternal heaven, the emperor’s name is sacred and cannot be violated, anyone who is not respectful will be sentenced to death.

Kublai Khan commissioned the Tibetan monk the Phags-pa Lama to create this script in 1267. Kublai sought to advance the unification of his vast empire by developing a script which could be used to transcribe multiple languages. He had intended his new script to become the official state script, however in reality it never replaced the use of Chinese characters and the first written language for Mongolian which had been commissioned by Genghis Khan.

Discover this silver tablet and learn more about Phags-pa and his script in our exhibition Genghis: Rise of the Mongol Khans which will be on display at the National Military Museum of the Netherlands in 2017.