An 18th century letter written by King Alaungmintaya to King George II has been rediscovered – in a library in Hanover. The letter was no ordinary piece of correspondence, having been written on a plaque of gold and decorated with rubies!
Golden letter from a Myanmar king
Myanmar Times, 20-26 June 2011
In 1756 Myanmar king Alaungmintaya sent a diplomatic letter to King George II of Great Britain.
It was not a run-of-the mill, ink-on-paper dispatch. The message, in Myanmar language, was engraved on a rectangular plaque made of gold, with a line of 12 rubies embedded on each of two sides.
Dr Jacques Leider, a French scholar and historian who has studied the text on the plaque, has described it as being of â€œimmense historical value â€¦ aesthetically pleasing and [of] political importanceâ€.
Dr Leider became aware of the existence of the letter, which is kept in the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Library in Hanover, Germany, in 2007 when he was contacted to study the artefactâ€™s engraved script.
â€œA curator at [the library], Dr Friedrich Hulsmann, beseeched me to trace the origin of the manuscript,â€ Dr Leider said in an email to The Myanmar Times.
He said hours of â€œpainstaking inspection through a magnifying glassâ€ were required to identify the origin of the letter beyond doubt.
â€œThe letter is decrepit but survives in a largely unaltered state,â€ he said.