STANDING GODDESS – PLAQUES


APPENDIX TO CHAPTER III-COINS AND CURRENCY

HW CODRINGTON.

PLAQUESSet of maya devi coins

Who is this lady?

The greatest numbers of coins found of Sri lanakan origin is what PE Peries called lakshmi Plaque due to the resemblance to the Lakshmi figures in 4 Cent AD Hindhu Temple art. Initially these coin like pieces were believed to be Temple token or Votive offering, but now the numismatist believe that these were issued in various denominations to the established values and weights of the ancient monetary system practiced in the Island and in India.

The Art of figure of a lady standing is on a Lotus is exquisite on the many good specimen found. Even the lotus flower and stalk and the Elephant are artistically and symmetrically executed in the small limited area available. These are very rare collectors items.

An alternate explanation of this Female figure given to a similar figure found on the Sanchi Vihare Gateway is shown below.

Lumbini birth placeUsha

(1) Cast

The chief “find” of cast plaques was unearthed in 1917 at Alutwatta, in the town of Chilaw, at least 91 whole or damaged pieces, besides minor fragments, being discovered 2 ½ feet below the surface of the soil in a chatty. Before this date the only one of the type known were a very few found near the Thuparama and in the Kiribat Vehera at Anuradhapura. Similar plaques have also since been found at Vallipuram and Kantarodai in the Jaffna peninsula,

8 cent Art

The shape is usually oblong but in the broader specimens is distinctly oval. The metal is brittle and flakes easily and there is a tendency to split at the junction of the moulds, as if the obverse and reverse had been cast separately and then soldered together-

The analysis of a small plaque weighing 21.5 grains, made at the instance of Mr. P. E. Pieris, yielded the following result :-

.. .. Per cent
Lead 59.93
Copper 14.84
Silica 0.62
Iron 0.14
Nickel A trace

The design on the obverse is in high relief, and represents the goddess Lakshmi clad in a broad girdle and wearing earrings, besides two bracelets on the upper arms and three to five on the forearms; on the legs below the knee are there to five rings, with wide anklets. She stands on large lotus, and with her hands, which are pendent, grasps two stalks of the same plant, usually springing from either side of the flower beneath her feet and ending about the level of the shoulders in a small blossom, up one each of which stands a small Elephant holding a water pot in his upturned trunk, the two trunks forming an arch over her head . Between the legs and the stalks are are minor lotus shoots variously depicted ; one sometimes ends in a bud. The whole is in an oblong frame, occasionally double at the top , slightly rounded at the corners, At a varying distance from this appears the edge of the enclosing space, which is sometimes barrel-shaped. For the figure of Lakshmi see J.R.A.S, 1914 p 402

M4M 1

On the reverse is a large railed swastika similar to that on the coins above described, revolving, except in one instance, to the right between two symbols. Beneath are three lines, the lowest of which is often curved upwards at either end, and sometimes reaches the extremities of the railing. No frame is visible. The symbols are

A.-symbol No. 4, in one case with a double line over it ; in some it-has a rounded bottom In one specimen there is no line across the symbol, but two lines over the top. In other it resembles that of the Karle inscription No 3; in a few it approaches that of No, 25 at Kuda, though the connecting lines are disjointed; while in some it is the same as symbol “C” on the reverse of the Elephant and swastika ,coins in variant (a). The normal form is that of the Junnar inscription No 12 (Report on the Buddhist cave Temples Archeological Survey of Ancient India, Vol IV)

B.-The Nandipada symbol, which also has many variations. The circle is usually separated from the triple fork by a horizontal line ; in a few this is absent, when the symbol is much the same as that in the Junnar inscription No 8. In some the horizontal line seems to be merged in the fork. The symbols should be compared with those on either side of the swastika on the large circular coins.

M 2M 6

2. I –Swastika revolving to the right

(a)Symbols A to left, B to right .   So 55 of 91 : in 7 the swastika on the reverse is placed in the opposite direction to the figure on obverse i.e. top to bottom (U). The sizes are the maxima..

Size .. Weight
In In .. Gr. ..
1.37 x 0.76 .. 129.1 .. Fair ; slightly brokenPL 20
1.29 x 0.66 .. 120 .. Good ; complete.
1.33 x 0.68 .. 113.2 .. Worn
1.31 x 0.62 .. 105.1 .. Obv., fair ; rev. Poor
1.18 x0.53 .. 94.5 .. Good
1.27 x 0.55 .. 93.3 .. Worn ; edges worn.
1.29 x 0.59 .. 89.7 .. Good ; slightly broken.
1.27 x 0.59 .. 88.8 .. Fair ; rev. slightly flaked. Apparently chipped on one side
l.3l x 0.66 .. 88.3 .. Obv., fair ; rev, worn ; slightly broken
1.24 x 0.62 .. 87.3 .. Fair (U) ; edge broken
1.25 x 0..51 .. 86.8 .. Fair
1.18 x .0.59 .. 84.7 .. Obv., worn ; rev, fair ; slightly broken
1.31 x 0.53 .. 84.5 .. Very good ; edges worn Pl 21
1.20 x 0.61 .. 83.5 .. Fair ; bottom broken just above feet
1.25 x 0.59 .. 82.8 .. Poor.
1.31 x 0.72 .. 81.3 .. Obv., very good ; rev., worn ; slightly broken (U)
1.24 x 0.59 .. 80.8 .. Fair (U).
1.24 x 0.61 .. 80.4 .. Obv., good ; rev., almost obliterated
1.22 x 0.74 .. 67.2 .. Good ; edges broken

(b) B to left, A to right: 2 U

1.29 x 0.61 .. 119.5 .. Worn ; slightly broken
1,25 x 0.62 .. 105.1 .. Obv,, good ; rev,, slightly worn ; somewhat barrel|-shaped
1.37 x 0.62 .. 89.2 .. Worn ; flaked on Obv
1.35 x 0.57 .. 88.8 .. Obv., worn ; rev., fair
1.25 x 0.62 .. 86.4 .. Fair ; narrow at top (U )
I.12 x .0.64 .. 83.5 .. Worn ; slightly broken
1.29 x 0.74 .. 82.5 .. Obv., good ; rev., fair ; slightly broken and flaked
1.29 x 0.59 .. 82 .. Obv., fair ; rev., worn ; edges somewhat worn
1.29 x 0.53 .. 77.8 .. Fair.
l.20 x 0.55 .. 76.8 .. Fair.
l.37 x 0.59 .. 75.9 .. Worn; broken
1.25 x 0.61 .. 74.8 .. Poor; narrow at top
1.31 x 0.62 .. 74.4 .. Obv. poor ; rev., worn ; broken
1.27 x 0.59 .. 14 .. Obv. fair ; rev., worn (U) ; symbol B upside down
1.27 x 0.57 .. 72.8 .. Fair.
1.25 x 0.59 .. 65.3 .. Very worn

(c) Position of Symbols doubtful ; all worn on reverse.

Size .. Weight ..
In In .. Grains. ..
1.37 x 0.66 .. 124.8 .. Obv., worn ; rev., obliterated.
1.25 x 0.59 .. l18 .. Obv., poor ; rev, obliterated
1.33 x 0.59 .. 117.6 .. Obv., poor ; rev., obliterated ; narrow at bottom
1.27 x 0.61 .. 107 .. Worn.
1.29 x 0.61 .. 101 .. Obv,, good-
1.31 x 0.62 .. 90.7 .. Obv., worn (U)
l.3l x . 0.64 .. 84.9 .. Worn; barrel shaped
l.24 x 0.74 .. 81.8 .. Worn ; rev., obliterated ; slightly broken
1.22 x 0.64 .. 70 .. Obv., poor ; edges chipped

II –Swastika revolving to the left-
Symbols : B to left, A to right. Pl.22,

Size .. Weight ..
In. In. .. Gr. ..
1.27 x 0.55 .. 74.4 .. Very good. Part of design off flan, and edges worn

3. As has been said, plaques of similar type have been found at Kantarodai ; the size, however, usually is small, and sometimes almost minute. On most the whole of the goddess appears, though part of the swastika is often off the flan. On two this symbol is placed lozenge-wise, while the standing figure is four square with the plaque. Below the swastika are usually four lines of varying length, two or more of which are often connected at the ends by short strokes. The lowest line is sometimes carried up at either end in a stroke. The original of this collection of lines, perhaps, may have been a caitya with a vertical line beneath, as on the reverse of the Elephant and Swastika coins.

Size .. Weight ..
In. In. .. Gr. ..
0.55 x 0.23 .. 10.3 .. Slightly broken
0.53 x. 0.23 .. 10.8 ..
0.55 x 0.25 .. 12.2 .. Swastika revolving to I : part of symbol 4-of C.C.A,, p, clxxv, to r
0.55 x. 0.23 .. 13.9 .. As last ; fine condition
0.55 x .0.27 .. 14.4 .. Swastika to r; perfect
0.55 x: 0.23 .. 14.6 .. As last ; slightly broken
0.59 x .0.29 .. 14.6 .. Slightly broken
0.59 x 0.25 .. 18.7 .. Swastika to r; head of goddess off flan
0.72 x .0.19 .. 18.7 .. (?) a part split off the side
0;57 x .0.27 .. 18.9 ..
0.55 x 0.25 .. 19.4 ..
0.59 x 0.31 .. 20.4 .. Arch over head ; worn.
0.59 x 0.31 .. 20.6 .. Swastika to right
0.66 x 0.17 .. 20.6 .. Obv; good; broken
0.66 x 0.31 .. 21.8 .. Swastika to r. ; fair
0.62 x 0.29 .. 23.5 ..
0.66 x 0.27 .. 23.5 .. Very worn:
0.70 x 0.35 .. 24.2 .. Broken and worn
0.66 x 0.39 .. 26.1. .. . Swastika to r.: worn
0.76 x 0.31 .. 26.1 .. . Swastika to r. ; slightly broken
0.57 x 0.29 .. 26.4 .. Rev., worn
0.64 x 0..39 .. 30.7 .. Swastika to r. symbol to its r
0.70 x 0.37 .. 32.l .. do
0.68 x 0.37 .. 32.4 .. Swastika to r. ; very worn
0.70 x 0,37 .. 34.3 ..
0.74 x 0.37 .. 34.4 .. Worn
0.76 x 0.39 .. 41.0 .. Swastika to r; symbol to its r
0.74 x 0.59 .. 50.1 .. Rev., die placed lozenge-wise ; goddess complete and placed normally ; worn
0.78 x 0.62 .. 76.0 .. Design as on last; slightly broken

(2) Struck 5. x-The design is that of the Chilaw cast plaques, but on the obverse is a nimbus round the head, and on the reverse symbol A is always on the right, and of the same pattern as .Junnar No. 12 ; in one instance it is the same as the left-hand symbol in variant (a) of the “Elephant and Swastika” round coins . . .

Size .. Weight
In In .. Grains.
1.24 x 0.49 .. 41.8 .. Parker, Ancient Ceylon, No. 3 (p. 475)
. 1.25 x 0.53. .. 44.5.. .. A.S., 41.1, Elala’s Tomb ; scaled on either side
1.l2 x 0.47 .. 37.9 .. 42c, Kiribat Vehera ; worn ..
l.l8 x 0.47 26.6 .. Elala’s Tomb ; very thin and worn, with sharp edges ; two holes en one side
1.4 x 0.46 .. 52.5 .. Parker, No. I (p. 474).
1.8 x 0.46.. 44 .. Parker, No. 2 (p. 475),Pl,23.
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