THE GOLD COINAGE OF SRI LANKA


CHAPTER IV

MEDIEVAL  CEYLON

CEYLON COINS AND CURRENCY -HW Codrington

HW CODRINGTON

Coins without Name or Ruler

PARA 7. The Ceylon type, in its completeness, is as follows: –

Symbol 2 is found on a Mathura coin of about the second century B.C (I.M.C., I, p. 192), on those of the East Calukya dynasty AD. 615-633 {ib ., p . 3 12), and on the Potgul Vehera inscription of Parakrama Bahu I (A.S., 1906). It also appears to the left of a figure standing, as in the Ceylon type on a lotus stalk on a Panlcala coin (Rapson’s Indian Coins, Pt. III,16).

These symbols apparently are intended for standing and hanging lamps, indicative of the religious liberality of the king. I am indebted to Dr. Henderson, late Superintendent of the Madras Museum, and to Mr. J, Allan, .of the British Museum, for the interpretation of these symbols.
The fire-altar or sacrificial lamp appears on the Kushan and Gupta coins, and in the medieval series and the fractional pieces of the gold kahavanuva and on the , Setu copper coins, where it is elongated into a trident. From the legend Lakshmi in the quarter pieces, and the presence of the lotus ,the chank ,and the cakra or discus, described below as an annulet, it perhaps may be surmised that the standing figure on our coins, with the exception of the quarters, was originally intended for Vishnu, the guardian of Ceylon, or rather, as only two arms are portrayed, for his incarnation as Rama. In the following pages the kahavanuva and its fractions, unless otherwise stated, are of gold. The subtypes are determined by the symbol or emblem in the hand of the figure on either side, and in the case of the reverses of the fractional pieces by the symbol over the legend. For the reasons given below these coins, with the possible ,exception of the massa piece, are to be assigned to the tenth century, and some perhaps, to the later years of the ninth

    1. Obverse.

      Standing figure, head to right, crowned, clothed in a dhoti, indicated by a curved line on either side of, and sometimes by one or more between the legs, The figure stands upon a lotus plant stalk with varying finials. The left arm is bent, and holds a flower or other object before the face[ In type I coins the left arm is bent to hip and hold no object,a crescent moon at 1 0-clock ] ,the right is extended with the hand over symbol left, and, the elbow over symbol 2, which, in the later coins, gradually crowds out the first symbol.

      Symbols around Figure
    2. 1(a). consists of a straight shaft with short cross pieces, ending in four prongs which are narrow and curve upwards and downwards.
    3. 1(b). Variation of the above; the prongs are thick, and the head of the symbols is somewhat like the calices of two half-opened flowers, one being placed above the other.
      In both varieties of this symbol the head points upwards.
    4. 2. is similar to symbol I (a), but with plain shank and upside down.
    5. 3.To the right a varying number of annulets or balls. The whole in a bead circle.
    6.  
    7. Reverse.

      Similar figure, head right, crowned, squatting upon a bed-like throne or asana, represented by an oblong frame divided lengthwise by a line and crosswise by a varying number of lines ; dhoti represented by one or more lines between legs, the two ends at the waist appearing at either side of the body. The right arm is pendent over the right knee, which is drawn up; the left arm is bent, and holds an object as on the obverse. In field to right, legend. The whole in bead circle.

    8. Type IA. “Sun and Moon.

      1. Obv. : As type, but with considerable variations. Head, some what circular ; nose, mouth and eye shown ; crown, a semicircular line behind head with slight bifurcation at top, and a small horizontal line below ; behind it a similar but shorter line ending in a dot ; In rear a dot Left arm bent in to breast ; elbow outwards ; nothing in hand. Dhoti has two lines between legs. Stalk consists of dots, ending L in chank, r. in five-leaved flower, somewhat like symbol l (b)of type. To l. symbols I (a) and.2;to r. symbol 1(a) tilted to tr.; above this, a crescent, and below, four annulets with dot in centre of each . All in bead circle,Rev. : As type. Crown, a curved line with dot attached to upper outer edge; behind, a short vertical line ending in dot at bottom ; in rear a dot. In l hand, a small crescent with dot above (sun and moon). Dhoti, two long lines between legs Asana, long with five cross lines.
        Legend : in three lines :

        1
        1 2 3 4 5 2 3
        Sri Lam ka Vi bhu 4 5

        Anuavara under arm. All in bead circle. H. W. C. Diameter 0.79 in. Weight 67.5 gr. C. A., I, IV, Pl.45 Slightly worn, but in very good preservation. The legend is last vowel being clear.

      2. Wider flan. As (1), but legend not so bold, and the crown varies –
        1. Obv.: A Curved line with short horizontal line below; behind. Two dots connected by a oblong ;
          Rev.: A curved line, with dot behind upper half, and short horizontal line below; behind, a line ending at top in dot: in rear a dot.

          1
          2
          Legend as (l), but last vowel mark reversed 3
          4 5

          Nikula find; fine specimen. Diameter : 0.86 in. Weight : 69.3 gr.Pl. 46

        2. Obv. : A curved line, with short horizontal line below; behind, two dots connected by a curved line; in rear a dot.
          Rev. : As Obv., but the curved connecting line is shorter.

          1
          2
          Legend : last vowel mark absent 3
          4 5
        3. Nikula find. Diameter : 0.87 in.Weight 68.l gr. C. A.,Pl.XIV,2.
        4. Obv. : As Obv. of (b).
          Rev.: As rev. of (l).

          1
          2
          Legend : last vowel mark doubtful, as slightly worn: 3
          4 5

          Nikula find. Diameter : 0.86 in. Weight : 67.9 gr.

        5. A coin of Brig Munasinghe.
          Obv:Standing figure symbol 1 and 2 similar ,3 Golas to right of figure. The stalk ends with two Chanks. Sanda Sanda type.
          Rev:Seated on an 14 compartment asana
          Size= Cms Weight= gms
    9. Type IB “Chank over Vase”


      The Coin in Codrington has a Chank over Vase

        1. As A(1)
          Obv: Crown, semicircular line from top to back of head, with short horizontal line beneath ;.-in rear a small vertical line, behind which a dot. Lotus stalk terminates on either side in Chank. To r. four annulets, each with dot in centre.
          Rev. ; Crown, almost as on Obv. Asana ,long with four cross lines. In l. hand vase above which a chank.

          1
          2
          Legend : 3 Anusvara under arm
          4
          5

          Colombo Museum. 56. Diameter :0.81in Weight : 68.2 gr   Pl 47


        2. As last , Crown, as Obv of A (2) (b). Stalk ends in five-leaved flower at either end.
          Rev. : crown, similar to Obv. In l hand a vase from which springs a plant composed of a straight line and four branches or leaves. table align=center> 1 Legend : 2 3 Anusvara under arm. Third and fifth have no vowel marks 45 Nikula find. H. W. C. Diameter : 0.88 in Weight 68.9 CA,. PL XIV,3
      1. A coin of Mr OMR Sirisena ,
        Obv: .
        Rev. :. Diameter : 0. in Weight

    10. Type I C- Full Vase

      1. Coin of Mr OMR Sirisena.
        Obv: Standing figure flnked by symbols 1 and 2 as usual,The stalk ends with two bo-ankulas. Bo-Bo Type. br>Rev. : hoversover a 10 compartment Asana.
        Diameter : 0. in Weight

      2. Two coins in the Colombo Museum

       

    11. Type I D-Bo-Ankula

      1. Coin of Brig B Munasinghe
        Obv: Standing figure and usual two Lamps[Dipa] and Srivatsa. Stalks end with
        Rev: Hovers over 10 compartment Asana
        Diameter : 0. in Weight

      2. Coin of OMR Sirisena.

       

    12. Type I E-Padma-kekula


      Coin of Mr OMR Sirisena.
      Obv:As usual, the Stalks end with two Chanks[Sanka],four Golas.
      Rev. :Hovers over 10 compartment Asana
      Diameter : 0. in Weight

       A Coin of Raja Wickremasinghe  Weight 4.35 gms.

    13. Type I F-Srivatsa

      1. Varietion 1

        1. Coin of Brig B.Munasinghe
          Obv:Symbol No 2 , the Prong of srivatsa is joined to shaft. The Lotus stlk ends with a Sanda and Bo.Four golas to right.
          Rev. :Compartments are blurred.
          Diameter : 0. in Weight
        2. Coin of Mr OMR Sirisena.
        3. Coin of Wng Cdr Raja Wickremasinghe.


      2. Varietion 2
        ( Coin Found at Kaludiya-pokuna[ Archeological Dept Phamphlet]
        Obv: The symbol No 2 is replaced by a Chank over Pot to left of standing figure. A Sanka and Bo at end of stalk. Four Golas to right.
        Rev. :Srivatsa has two dots on either side of middle shaft.The compartments are oval in shape.
        Diameter : 0. in Weight

       

    14. Type I I-Sanka


      Coin of Mr OMR Sirisena.
      Obv: Crown, a semicircular line, with a curved smaller line on rear and a small angular line below; The lotus stalk ends with two four leaved Bo-ankula.
      Rev. : crown a semicircular line with two ball attached to bottom on either side . In l hand vase from which springs a plant composed straight tine with four leaves . Asana, long, with four cross lines ,
      Diameter : 0. in Weight

       

    15. Type I G-Adahanda

      1. Coin of Brig B Munasinghe.
        Obv:
        Rev. :
        Diameter : 0. in Weight

      2. Coin of Mr OMR Sirisena.
      3. A Coin in Colombo Museum.

       

    16. Type I H-Flower

      [New Type]-Unpublished
      Coin of Wng Comd Raja Wickremasinghe.
      Diameter : 0. in Weight

    17.  9. Type II All as in type
      (1) ” Lotus and adahanda;”
      Obv. : Head as on l B (l), but more oblong. Crown, a semicircular line, below which a short curved line (perhaps, representing earring); behind a triangle of dots conjoined. Dhoti two lines. In l. hand full-blown lotus represented by a circle of dots with dot in centre Lotus stalk, left  chank; r
      aight. variant of that on I A (1). To l. symbols l (c) and 2; to r., four annulets, each with dot in centre.
      Rev.: crown as on Obv. In l .hand two semicircles one with in the other ,i.e., the design used as a cattle brand and called adahanda (half moon)- Long Asana, four cross lines.

      1
      2
      Legend : 3 Anuvaraunder arm
      4 5

      Rhys Davids, 3 Brit Mus,. 6 Diameter : 0.68 in Weight :68.5 gr
      (2) Adahanda and lotus
      Obv. : Same
      Rev : Similar

      1
      Legend : 2 3 third Akshara leaning on its side to left
      4 5

      Colo.Mus.,6l. Diameter:0.80in.Weight:67.2gr PI.48.

      Variant.-Crown, without small horizontal line. Dot under right arm. To r three annulets. Lotus stalk ends in adahanda at either end.
      Rev. As (2), but legend

      1
      2
      Rev as(2),but Legend : 3 Anuvara under arm
      4 5

      Diameter 0.74in. Weight : 65.9 gr Pale gold
      (3) ” Double adahanda.” As in I B (1)
      Obv : oblong head ; Crown, a some what curved line behind head, three dots in triangle in rear, In l .hand adahanda .Above dhoti to l. a dot; two lines between legs Lotus stalk .full-blown lotus, r. chank with group of three linked dots at outer end. Symbol 1 (c) slightly thicker ; Three annulets each with dot in Centre.
      Rev: Dhoti, two lines. In l. hand adahanda. Asana short, three cross lines.

      1
      Legend : 2 3 Anuvaraer arm
      5
      4

      Colo Mus., 58. Diameter: 0.76 in. Weight : 66.9 gr. PI.49.


    18. variant.-Obv : Legs, less bent ; one of middle lines of dhoti longer than legs ends as usual with two lines in lieu of three dots.
      Rev.: Asana fairly long.
      Colo Mus., 57 Diameter :0.77in, Weight : 67.4gr.
    19. (4.) Jessamine bud and lotus., As (3), but rougher.
      Obv : In l. hand Jessamine bud, narrow and oblong. Symbol 1(b). Lotus stalk ends in two full-blown lotus flowers. Three annulets as above.
      Rev : In l. hand full-blown lotus ; asanalong three cross lines. TR

      1
      Legend : 2 3 Anusvara under arm
      5
      4

      H. W. C. Diameter : 0.74in. Weight : 67.5 gr. C. A., Pl. XIV. 4. PI.50.

      variant.-Short asana, two cross lines.

      1
      Legend : 2
      3
      4 5

      Colo Mus, 62 Diameter :0.76in Weight :67.3gr. Pale gold.


      Obv: Crown, line behind head, in rear three dots linked in triangle. In l. hand a ball ; symbol  1, a long object, with three short lines across it at base and divided into two prongs at upper end, practically as in II (4) ; symbol 2, very short. Dhoti, two lines. Four annulets and one ball above. This ball probably is meant for the sun, as its place is taken by a crescent in other coins, e.g., No. 2 in Chap. VII, section 4.
      Rev : Crown , as Obv. In l. hand annulet, without dot in centre possibly the discus of Vishnu. Dhoti, two lines. Small asanatwo cross lines.

      Diameter Weight ..
      In Gr. ..
      Colo. Mus., 60 0.84 67.3 .. Worn
      Colo. Mus., 59 0.78 67.3 ..
      Colo Mus, 78 .. 0.76 67.3 .. Yellow gold Pl 51
      P.E.P .. 0.76 65.2 .. -. ..
      H.WC .. 0.80 66.4 .. Pale gold.Pl.52

      From the treatment of the crown and head and of the Sri and Vowel mark these coins would appear to be following kahavanu. They are of two sizes.
      A copper coin of this type, once gilt, weighs 54.9 grains. A cast plated coin of the same kind much worn and weighing 46 grains, is in Mr. Bell’s collection. C.A., Pl. XIV, 5.


      Obv : Crown, thick straight line with triangle in rear. In l. hand open Jessamine flower (piccamala) viewed from side. Dhoti, one line, longer than legs. Lotus stalk, with small circle in centre, ending l. in chank, r. in flower as in four annulets and ball above.
      Rev. : Crown as Obv.Dhoti, bent line, with small line in angle. In l. hand chank : asana short. two cross lines.

    20. Pl 53,In legend Anusvara over La.
      Diameter Weight
      In Gr.
      R.D.,4 (Brit. Mus.) . 0.80 65.2 ..
      P.E.P .0.76 .. 66.6 .. 10 ..
      Madras Museum, I and 2 .. .. ..
      Madras Museum,3;copper gilt .. 37.3 ..
      Dr. Henderson ; copper gilt .. 0.76 63.2 ..
      Colo. Mus., 63 0.84 65.8 .. Slightly broken; yellow gold
      H.C.P.B .. 0.84 66.7 .. C.A.. Pl. XIV. 6
      H.W.C .. 0.82 66.1 .. -.

      A silver coin the writer’s cabinet. It is in good condition, but is cut down, and weighs 25.4 grains; it is of doubtful authenticity




.

Kahavanu 8. The Legend on the kahavanu is commonly read Sri Lankesvara on the authority of Prinsep’s {Essays,Vol. I, p. 421) ; Thomas, however, disagreed with that scholar’s reading, preferring Lamki Viha or Lamke Veha. The last akshara in no case resembles ra, and in the earlier and clearer specimens is either bha or ha. The tempting solution Sri Lamka Simha, ” lion of Ceylon,” has been suggested by Mr. Krishna Sastri, but it is difficult to find any form of S like the fourth akshara. It is now proposed to read the legend Sri Lamka Vibhu, ” the fortunate ,lord of Ceylon.” This is closer to Thomas’ reading, and is supported by what seems to be a vowel mark under the last akshara in type I A (1) below. Vibhu a title of Vishu.

Type I A


Types I and II are characterized by the elaborate formation of the Sri the fineness of the lettering, and the more sinuous lines of the body Type I -The crown in some resembles the helmet of the “seated horseman’ aT Isurumuniya, Anuradhapura. The characteristic symbol is on the reverse only.
TYPE II

10. Type III, characterized by the Sri, which somewhat resembles that on the issues of the Cola king Rajaraja; other letters of legend usually in their proper places, those on the right being slightly higher than those left ; the letters are thicker than in Types I and II – The Human figure also is coarser.
Type III A. ” Ball and Annulet,”

Type III B ” Jessamine flower and chank.”

Type III C ” Jessamine flower and chank.” As III B, but distinctly coarser; of two varieties:-
(l) The figure almost exactly resembles that of’ the ” Ceylon type ” coins of the Cola kings R.ajaraja and Rajadhiraja (v., Chap. VIX, COLA). Body, thick; and on Obv., legs nearly straight; dhoti, one line.
Rev. : Dhoti, two lines ; asana, short, two cross lines. Pl 54.

Diameter Weight
In Gr.
Colo. Mus..64. 0.87 66.7 ..
H.W.C .0.82 .. 68.1 ..
H.C.P.B .. 0.84 66.2 .. Pierced, C.A., Pt. XIV, 7


(2) Very coarse.

R.D.,1 .. 0.80 .. 67 ..
R.D.,2 .. 0.74 .. 63.2 ..
H.C.P.B .. 0.84 ..


The gold kahavanu, once fairly common in Madura District, South India, appear to be all of Type III

THE LEGEND.

The Legend on the kahavanu is commonly read Sri Lankesvara on the authority of Prinsep’s {Essays,Vol. I, p. 421) ; Thomas, however, disagreed with that scholar’s reading, preferring Lamki Viha or Lamke Veha. The last akshara in no case resembles ra, and in the earlier and clearer specimens is either bha or ha. The tempting solution Sri Lamka Simha, ” lion of Ceylon,” has been suggested by Mr. Krishna Sastri, but it is difficult to find any form of S like the fourth akshara . It is now proposed to read the legend Sri Lamka Vibhu, ” the fortunate ,lord of Ceylon.” This is closer to Thomas’ reading, and is supported by what seems to be a vowel mark under the last akshara in type I A (1) below. Vibhu a title of Vishu.The legend was read as Sri Lamkeswara, Sri Lanka Vibhu and Sri Lanka Viha



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