ELEPHANT AND SWASTIKA -SMALL


ELEPHANT AND SWASTIKA -SMALL- ELEPHANT ONLY

12. A similar but smaller coin was found near the Thuparama at.,Anuradhapura with plaques (J.R A S CB., XIX, No 58, 1907).
Obv.: Elephant as on the large coins filling the lower half of the die; above it symbol a with projection beneath ; two dots to left of elephant’s head and of symbol. The right lower part of the coin is obliterated and broken ; but it is clear that that there was no tree or swastika; .and so probably no caitya or arched hill.
Rev. : Symbols a, b, c. The die is of the flan, leaving a margin on the left. It is estimated that a little over one-sixth or even more is missing ; the full weight would, therefore, be about 19.3 grains.
Diameter : 0.57 in. Weight : 16.1 gr.

13 The three following are from Vallipuram, in the Jaffna peninsula :
(i) Obv. : Elephant standing, 1., trunk pendent, in single line frame.
Rev. : In similar frame railed swastika. revolving r. Pl. 10 Rectangular. Size : 0.53 x 0.43 in. Weight :24.7 gr. Broken. Pieris, XIV, 20. Size : 0.41 x 0.41 in. Weight : 15.8 gr.

(ii) As last, but elephant to r. Rectangular. Size : 0.43 x 0.41 in. Weight : 12.1 gr. Broken.


In the large circular coins the size seems to bear no relation to the weight. The average of the be better preserved pieces is about 260 grains.

Placement of Symbols on the faces of coin.

ELEPHANT AND SWASTIKA -SMALL


ELEPHANT AND SWASTIKA -SMALL- ELEPHANT ONLY

12. A similar but smaller coin was found near the Thuparama at.,Anuradhapura with plaques (J.R A S CB., XIX, No 58, 1907).
Obv.: Elephant as on the large coins filling the lower half of the die; above it symbol a with projection beneath ; two dots to left of elephant’s head and of symbol. The right lower part of the coin is obliterated and broken ; but it is clear that that there was no tree or swastika; .and so probably no caitya.
Rev. : Symbols a, b, c. The die is of the flan, leaving a margin on the left. It is estimated that a little over one-sixth or even more is missing ; the full weight would, therefore, be about 19.3 grains.
Diameter : 0.57 in. Weight : 16.1 gr.

13 The three following are from Vallipuram, in the Jaffna peninsula :
(i) Obv. : Elephant standing, 1., trunk pendent, in single line frame.
Rev. : In similar frame railed swastika. revolving r. Pl. 10 Rectangular. Size : 0.53 x 0.43 in. Weight :24.7 gr. Broken. Pieris, XIV, 20. Size : 0.41 x 0.41 in. Weight : 15.8 gr.

(ii) As last, but elephant to r. Rectangular. Size : 0.43 x 0.41 in. Weight : 12.1 gr. Broken.
In the large circular coins the size seems to bear no relation to the weight. The average of the be better preserved pieces is about 260 grains.

ANCIENT NUMERALS OF SRI LANKA-[3 CENT BC- 4 CENT AD]


WORDS AND SYMBOLS FOR NUMBERS USED BY THE ANCIENT SINHALESE [3 Cent BC – 4 Cent AD].

Brig Siri Munasinghe.

The early Sinhalese and those of the Indians Continent appear to have developed their words and symbols for numbers from a common source. We are fortunate that our ancestors left traces of these words and the symbols  on their rock inscriptions. These traces are extracted and listed for information of scholars interested in research .

THE BASIC SINHALA  NUMBER WORDS .

The  historical records  of  Twenty  basic words that are required to express  all numbers   is found on rock inscriptions of ancient Sri Lanka. The number words for one in   Ek patake 1meaning one lot of land , do 1– kahapana to indicate  two silver kahapanas donated by the officer in charge of canals ,the tini1 silapatani –the word for  three  stone steps donated by  Upasika Tisaya, catara1 –disa to indicate four directions mentioned often in the donations made to  the Sanga, the cave of the paca1 – batikana – of the five brothers, and  number words for saye [1] [Six], sata1 [Seven], ata1 [Eight] is similarly found. Then a chief named Uba during the time of Mahasenpathi[  Dr S Paranavitane believes him to be King Dutugemeunu himself] builds a cave  for the Sanga or a King spending Nava1 [nine] lakhs for labour of hands and feet for construction of a cave  , a Princess whose father was King Gamini Uttiya donating  a cave in the memory of her father and mother to the Sanga of the dasa1 [ten] directions,  visiti1 [Twenty] appears in an inscription of King Lanjatissa in regard an donation of twenty five cool cave to the Sanga, other numbers such as of  tisa2 [Thirty], catalisa 3[Forty], panasa 4[Fifty], sati 5[Sixty], satati 5 [ Seventy], atasti 6 [ eighty, ?[Ninety], sata 7 [Hundred], sahasa 1 [ Thousand] and an extra number word to indicate very large numbers –lak 1 [Lakh]of Money[ Kahapanas] or land measures[ Karihas]  are all in the two volumes of the  ‘Inscription of Ceylon’ by Dr S Paranavitane.[The Volume II is published in two parts], the word for Ninety has not yet been traced in those Inscriptions available to the author . These words are similar to the words of  Sanskrit and Pali, that were  used in India and Sri Lanka during this ancient period. These words  later developed into Elu and these are  different to the early Dravadian words used by our closest neighbor. Those Dravidian number names  which are  described in the recently published book ‘Early Tamil Epigraphy’- I Mahadevan  8is listed alongside for comparison in Table I.

NUMBER WORDS FOR ROUND NUMBERS AND THEIR MULTIPLES.

The Number Words  for expressing multiples of Tens, Hundreds and Thousands  or the round numbers are also found on inscriptions from 3 Cent BC to 3 Cent AD was obtained from Dr Paranavitane’s three volumes ‘The  Inscriptions of Ceylon’. These words for numbers used express the measures of land in Karihsa , sums of money such as Ranas [ Gold Coins], Kahavanas{ Silver],  and Massas[ Copper or Alloy], dates of the lunar  Month, etc in the inscriptions. The words for the Multiples of Tens are a combine of the Initial letters of the nine digits  as the first member  with the words with sa in case of Tisa, Catalisa, Panasa or with ti in Visiti, Sati, Satati, Asati, as the second member.  The number word for ten ending with ti sounds more like the English Twenty, thirty, forty etc. Perhaps the rhythm made it easy to memorize the numbers.  The   Sinhala word for multiples Hundred and Thousands is a Compound of the Nine words for Sinhala Digits as the first member of the combined with the word for Hundred [ Sata] and Thousand[ Sahasa] as the second member. This way of expressing number names is similar to the present system adopted in present day Sinhala and English.

The construction of number words from 11 to 99.

The words for many numbers from eleven to eighty four  is recorded  on rock before the  3 Cent AD are shown on Table  II . These words were expressed as a  compound of the two word , the first word for  Units and then the word  for tens. The name for units as a rule came first. EK CATALISA 9[41] . It was One and forty instead of Forty and one . In the present day Sinhala this is different as its is a compound of  the word for Tens is expressed as the  first word  followed by the word for Units[ Hatalis eka], which is closer to the expression in English[ Forty One]. Both these system are in use in modern languages.

An exception is the  word for nineteen and twenty nine the word one less than twenty- ekuna visiti 10in Dakkina Stupa inscription and thirty- ekuna tisa 10is used. The One  less than twenty or one less than Thirty statement gives some indication of Number – sense such as less than or greater than.  The Sinhala name numbers was very flexible and akin to the Roman written numerals for 19 or 29 which was IXX or IXXX , placing I to the left of XX or XXX for less than and to the right for one greater than .

CONSTRUCTION OF NUMBER WORDS FROM 101 TO 999

There are many records of the donations of allotments of land for temples and purchases or payment of money which provides an incite as to how the ancient Sinhala constructed name for numbers using Hundred ,Tens and Units free from ambiguities and misleading statements .The expression for land measurements are different to those expressing a  sum of money. Traces of these from inscriptions are separately shown below, and there had been a separate tradition for these different transactions.

When  expressing three digit numbers in the measurement of land, the   word  Karisha which was a measure equivalent of four acres is interspersed   between the word  for sata [hundred ] examples . eka Kiriha sataka, tini Kariha sata, catara kiraha sateka, Etc. this is followed by the word Ca the ancient word for and. The rest of the  numbers from 1 to 99 were constructed  in the manner described below.

LAND MEASURE

108 eka sataka Kiriha ata11 100 KA 8
300 tini kariha sata ca12 3 KA 100 and
367 tini Kariha sata ca sati-sataka Kiriha13 3 KA 100 and 67 KA
400 catara kiraha sateka14 4 KA 100
420 Catara Kriha sata ca visiti kariha ca15 4KA 100 and 20 KA
477 Catari Kariha Sate ca sata satati Kariha16 4KA 100 and 77 KA
500 paca kiraha sati17 5 KA 100
603 Kariha Sa-sata ca tini kariha18 KA 600 and 3
884 ata kiraha sata ca catu-asati kiriha19 8 KA 100 and 84 KA
904 Nava Kariha sate ca catara Kiriha ca20 9 KA 100 and 4 KA
950 nava kiriha sata ca panasa Kiraha21 9 KA 100 and 50 KA

These Written or Verbal notations seems to have a adopted a general rule in constructing  Thousands , Hundreds , Tens and Units into a precise mathematical language free of ambiguities and misleading statements. Was this a requirement for  the additions and subtractions of numbers, which was essential until the Zero was introduced  after the 3 Cent AD in India?.

The sentence for four hundred seventy seven was written as below.

Catari  Kariha            Sate     ca       sata       satati        Kariha 22

Four     Kiraha       Hundred   and      seven  seventy    Kiraha

HOW KAHAVANAS WERE EXPRESSED.

100 eka sataka 23kahavana One hundred
500 Paca sata23a Kahavana Five Hundred
600 sata kala stataka 24Kahavana 6 times 100
600 sa sata 24a kahavana   Six hundred
833 Ata sate tetisa 25kahavana   Eight hundred thirty three

An interesting observation made by Dr Paranavitane about expressing 600 as six times Hundred ‘The expression sata kala sateka 24has been taken to mean seven times hundred  i.e multiplied by seven .  He states that it is  interesting to find the same expression to denote the idea of multiplication in old Sinhalese as well as in modern English24.

CONSTRUCTION OF NUMBER WORDS  ABOVE 1001.

There are interesting inscriptions where traces of names for Numbers consisting of thousands, Hundreds, Tens and units. These amounts on inscriptions give the cost of purchases and donations of Tanks to Monasteries. Few examples of these are shown below

The ancients were flexible in expressing these numbers specially in the case land measurements , they interspersed the units of measurement, the Kariha in between the unit word and the word for  Hundred or thousand when expressing the number of Hundred or thousands. In case of expressing numbers over ten and up to ninety nine they sometimes used the Kariha after the number word. How ever when large numbers expressing money Kahapana they wrote the whole word beginning with the highest denomination the thousand then hundred and the tens and units followed by the word Kahavana or Massa.

Number Thousands Hundreds Tens/units
1120 Eka Kariha Sahasa25

KA 1000

ca eka Kariha sata

and 1 KA 100

ca visiti .

and 20.

2041 Sari ca do karihi Sahasa26

An assessment of  2 KA 1000

ca eka catalisa

and 41 KA

4000 Catara sahasa27
5000 paca sahasa 28

Five thousand

100663 Sata  sahasa29

Hundred Thousands

ca ana sata sate

and another 600

ca ana se sate ca

and another 63.

[ Kahapanas]

LINKING NUMBERS WITH SYMBOLS.

The traces of symbols to express the written number were used on Inscriptons. Most of the  number words described in table 1 that is required to express any number was  represented  by  symbols. The traces of these symbols or Numerals of the ancient Sinhalese  found in the ancient inscriptions are shown in Table III.  Some of these symbols for numbers [Numerals] appear next to and  are attested by written number words. These are well described in Dr Abya Aryasinghe in ‘A Short Study of  Brahmi Numerals in Sri Lanka30’. These numerals bear a close resemblance to the Indian counterparts. The Sinhala numbering system  in written form or in numerical representation was based on the powers of Ten[ Decimal]. It was similar to the Indian counterpart and to the Egyptian Hieratic Script. All three  had 20 symbols or numerals which could be written  in free form on Palm leaves/ Papyrus.The simple additions and Subtractions may have been the  same as the present day arithmetic where it was necessary only to collect numerals of the same order and exchange ten like symbols for the next higher order31 and subtraction was performed by the same process in the reverse order. Some times borrowing was used when the a symbol was exchanged for a larger number was exchanged for ten lower order symbol to provide enough for the smaller number to be subtracted.  Multiplications and Divisions were additive according to the Rhind’s Papyrus , where the product of two numbers was obtained by repeated doubling of one of the  numbers and then adding the appropriate duplications to from the products32. Division  was multiplication in the reverse and was not easy when fractions were involved. To divide one would begin by doubling the divisor to a point at which the next duplication would exceed the dividend, then he would start halving the divisor in order complete the remainder33.The construction of large Dagobas, the construction of Tanks and Canals, the creation of the Calendar, Surveying of land and the record keeping for commerce required a  numerical system and precise mathematical language free of ambiguities and misleading statements. All these subjects should be studied in greater detail, as a lot of factors could be deduced from Rock Inscriptions, Ancients Texts and other evidence.

One such  example is the  constructions of a Stupa of the magnitude of the Maha seya at Anurhadapura. This stupa is     tall and  where a  truncated hemisphere rests  on three concentric short cylinder of descending diameters. On top of the this is placed a  Cube    and on which is built a spire in the shape of Cone. All from of two and three dimensional shapes available to the ancient has been utilized in its construction. Precise  formulas for their areas and volumes  would have been available either those of the Greeks , but more so the Hindu Mathematics. To quote one such formula that the Hindus and perhaps the Sinhalese used was that for  the area of a Circle. This   was Half the circumference multiplied by the half the Diameter34. This eliminated the value of Phi which is now 22/7 an approximate. This would not be  that accurate when  large diameters are considered. Perhaps they had there own Geometrical treaties now lost to us.

Perhaps King Sadhatissa was aware of the Thales of Miletus[625-547 BC] method of measuring the height of the pyramid35. The King may have measured the length of the Shadow from the Dagabo  to the tip of  the Pinnacle of the Maha- seya,  when his own shadow equal in length  to his own height. He had only to add the half the diameter at the base to get the true height of the Maha- seya.


[1]S.Paranavitane – Inscription of Ceylon Volume I . 1970  Pg xlii

3 S.Paranavitane – Inscription of Ceylon Volume II Part II 2001. Pg 337

4 ibid. Pg 335

5 ibid. Pg 343

6 ibid. Pg 357

7 ibid. Pg 327

8 Iravatham .Mahadevan – Early Tamil Epigraphy 2003  Pg 283

9 S.Paranavitane – Inscription of Ceylon Volume II Part II 2001. Pg 328

10 S.Paranavitane – Inscription of Ceylon Volume II Part II 2001. Pg 329

11 Rev Habarakada Varira- Abeyagiri Inscription Sanskrutika Puranaya 1994 Jan-March Pg 12

12 S.Paranavitane – Inscription of Ceylon Volume II Part II 2001. Pg 168

13 ibid. Pg 165

14 ibid 2001.

15 ibid. Pg 168

16 ibid. Pg 168

17 ibid. Pg 168

18 ibid. Pg168

19 ibid. Pg 167

20 ibid. Pg 167

21 ibid. Pg 167

22 S.Paranavitane – Inscription of Ceylon Volume II Part II ,2001. Pg 168

23 ibid. Pg  259

23a S.Paranavitane – Inscription of Ceylon Volume II Part I 1983. Pg 61

24 ibid. Pg 19

24a S.Paranavitane – Inscription of Ceylon Volume II Part II 2001. Pg

25 ibid. Pg 126

24 S.Paranavitane – Inscription of Ceylon Volume II Part I 1983. Pg 19

25 S.Paranavitane – Inscription of Ceylon Volume II Part II ,2001. Pg168

26 ibid. Pg160

27 S.Paranavitane – Inscription of Ceylon Volume II Part I 1983.   Pg 98

28 ibid.   Pg 92

29 S.Paranavitane – Inscription of Ceylon Volume II Part II ,2001. Pg 146

30 A. Aryasinghe- SAMSKRTI Cultural Quarterly Vol 17 No 3. 1983. Pg 31-50

31 David M Burton-History of Mathematics, 1997 Pg 12.

32 ibid. Pg 35

33 ibid .Pg 36.

34 David M Burton-History of Mathematics, 1997 Pg 59

35 ibid, 1997 Pg 86

ANCIENT SINHALA , SANSKRIT, PALI AND TAMIL WORDS FOR NUMBERS

3  CENT BC TO 3  CENT AD

Reference-Inscriptions of Ceylon Vol I- S Paranavitane SINHALA SANSKRIT PALI ELU TAMIL

ReferenceEarly Tamil Epigraphy 9– I Mahadevan

One No 786,815 EKA1 EKA EK
Two Nos791, 208 DO/DUVA1 DUVU DO IRU

-2CentBC-1 Cent AD

Three Nos 95,123,314,540,1152 TE /TINI/TI1 TRINI TINI TIN
Four Nos 9 , 331,1120 CATARA1 CATVARA CHATTRO SATARA
Five Nos 294, 428,978 PACA1 PANCA PAS
Six No 150 SA/SAYE1 SAT CHATTRO SATARA AIM       -5-6 Cent AD
Seven Kanitha tissa

2 CentAD

SATA1 SAPTA SATTA SAT EL         -5-6 Cent AD
Eight Nos 538,502 ATA1 ASTAN ATTHA ATA
Nine Nos 851,1199 NAVA1 NAVAM NAVA NAVA
Ten Nos 34,251 DASA1 DASAN DASA PATIN/PAT

2CentBC-1Cent AD

Twenty VISITI1
Thirty TISA2
Forty CATALISA4 CATVARI-MSAT CATTALI-SA SATALIS
Fifty PANASA5 PANCASA PANNASA PANAS
Sixty SATI/SATA6 SASTI SATTHI SATA
Seventy SATATI7 SAPTATI SATTATI SATTA
Eighty ASATI8 ASITI ASITI ASU
Ninety
Hundred No 857 SATA1 SATA SIYA NARU    -5-6 Cent AD
Thousand Nos 251,1199 SAHASA1 SAHASRA SAHASSA DAHAS
Lakh No 1199 LAKA1

NUMBER WORD FROM 10 TO 100

10  TO 19 20  TO 29 30  TO 39 40  TO 49
DASA         10 VISITI               20 TISA          30 CATALISA           40


EKA DASA36 1 & 10 EKA TISA36 EK CATULISA36   1 & 40
DO DASA37 2 & 10 DO VISITI 37       2 & 20 DO TISA37
TERASA38 3 & 10 TE VISITI 38 3& 20
CATARA VISA 4 & 20 CATA CATALISA43 4 & 40
PACA VISITI42 5 & 20
SOLASA 39 6 & 10
ATA DASA/atalosa40 8&10
EKUNA VISITI 36

1 LESS THAN 20

EKUNA TISA36

1 LESS THAN 30

50  TO   59

60  TO  69

70  TO  79 80  TO 89 90 to 99
PANASA44 50 SATI47 60 SATATI49 70 ASITI50 80 None
SESATI48 3 AND 60
CATA PANASA45 CATA ASITI46 4 & 80
PASA PANASA46
SA SATI48 6 & 60 SATA SATATI49 7 & 70

9 Iravatham .Mahadevan – Early Tamil Epigraphy 2003 Pg 283

2 S.Paranavitane – Inscription of Ceylon Volume II Part II ,2001. Pg

4 ibid. Pg 335

5 ibid. Pg 343

6 ibid. Pg 358

7 ibid. Pg 357

8 ibid. Pg 327

36 S.Paranavitane – Inscription of Ceylon Volume II Part II ,2001. Pg 329

37 ibid. Pg 339

38 ibid. Pg 337

43 ibid, Pg 111

42 ibid. Pg 341

39 ibid. Pg 360

40 ibid. Pg 324

44 ibid. Pg 169

47 ibid. Pg 357

49 ibid. Pg 358

50 ibid. Pg 327

48 ibid. Pg 146

45 ibid. Pg 334

46 ibid. Pg 167

46 ibid. Pg 167

48 ibid. Pg 359

49 ibid. Pg 357

DAKKINA STUPA INSCRIPTION.

This is the largest inscription in the Island ,inscribed on 17 slabs. These are 17   of many slabs which are placed around the stupa,  People walk on this inscription  when worshiping the Caitiya which on this inscription was known as the Tisa- maha- cheitiya. This inscription is of the period  King Sirinaga of 2 Cent AD and lay buried under the debris, which is now cleared. Most visitors to this site is unaware of the historical importance of this inscription. I visited this site in November 2004 and I asked the Watcher about this inscription, unfortunately he was unaware of its existence. I walked around this Stupa on the stone pavement which ran around its circumferance.  I notice to my horror  that I was walking on the inscription which is on 17 of the slabs that make up the pavement. All visitors walk over this inscription most without even noticing it. A few photo are attached , there were remnants of pieces of bottles broken on the inscription.

The traces of the Numbers or Numerals used by our ancestors is found  on this inscription. These numbers symbols are similar to the Indain Numerals which the Arabs copied and introduced to the west about the 14 Cent AD. The trace of 6 Numbers are found an Asokian inscription at Nanghat in Bombay. Which is the earliest available, The  Nasik Inscription dated to the 2 Cent AD is also famous for the ancient Hindu numerals.

This inscription which is about the same period as of Nasik and is of great significance to the Sri Lankans. There are many other inscription of the Island where traces of ancient Numerals, these are dated from 2 Cent BC to 3 Cent AD. Except for that at Situlpavu which is of the 1 Cent AD, the other has only one to three ancient Numerals to express symbolically the number of Kahapanas[ Silver Coins] and Karisa[ Measure of land- 4 Acres in extent]  transacted for various purposes.  The Situlpavu Inscription has traces of fair amount of numerals depicting Tens and Hundred.

This inscription is a lengthy account of a large number allotments of lands which are named by various personalities including Royalty . The extent of land is given in the ancient measure of land the Karisa which is equivalent to about 4 acres in extent. In addition to the Numerals an symbol for karisha   is  always placed  beside it. The placement of this symbol follows a uniform set proceedure. These allotments of  lands and Fields to this Monastery for its upkeeps is described in detail by Dr Paranavitane in Inscriptions of Ceylon Vol II Part 2.

Slab No V.Line 1.

The Karisa Symbol followed by Numeral 100 symbol 6   Karisa symbol Numeral 3. Drparanavitane identifies the worn letters in line 4 end as kariha sa sata ca tini kariha , which is 603 karihas.

Slab VII line 2.

Kariha symbol Numeral 100  Numeral 4  karina symbol sybol 70 and symbol 7. Line 5and continued to 6 is catara kariha ca sata satati Kariha, which is four hundred and seventy seven karihas.

Slab 9 line 7

Kariha symbol  Numeral 100 Numeral 9 Kariha symbol Numeral 4. Line six is Nava kiriha sata ca catara kiriha ca, which means Nine Hundred and four karahas.

Slab XI line 5/6.

The  Kariha symbol[ line 5]  Numeral 50 Kariha symbol Numeral 5. These symbol are preceded by words Pasa panasa kiraha, which fifty five karihas..

Slab XII line 3 / 4.

The Kariha symbol Numeral 100 and Numeral 4 Kariha symbol              then Numeral 20 . These symbol are preceded by the words in Line

catara kiraha sata ca visiti kiraha ca. This is Four hundred and twenty karahas.

SlabXIII line 6

Kariha symbol Numeral 1000 kariha symbol Numeral 100 Kariha symbol Numeral 9. Words in line 3 eka krahi sahasa sata ca …….

Which means One thosand and one hundred  and …. Kariha.

THE LEGEND ON GOLD COINAGE.Dr S Paranavitane


The Gold Coinage of Medieval Sri-Lanka.

Kahavanu

THE LEGEND ON GOLD COINAGE.Dr S Paranavitane.

In a note published in the Journal Royal Asiatic Society CB, Vol., XXXV (No. 96), 1943, pp. 162-3,  I have pointed, out that the legend in Nagari characters on the reverse of the Aka Coins reads as Aka. It is due to the two parts of the letter a being not properly joined together by the short horizontal bar in the middle, that this letter has been mistaken as two letters, and the whole legend read as Tamraki,Iraka, Uraka and Daraka, which are taken to stand for Nandaki. The correct decipherment of the legend establishes two things, namely (1) that the legend,though in Nagari characters, constitutes an Elu[ Spoken ancient Sinhala] word and (2) that the word written in Nagari characters on the reverse of this coin, gives the name of the coin itself, which is a word denoting a weight.

This leads to the consideration whether the attempts made to read the legends on the other coins of the medieval Sinhalese gold series, has been successful. The legend (in three lines) on the unit of the series, referred to by Codrington as Kahavanuva, has been read Sri Lamkesvara on the authority of James Prinsep’ s The second letter of 1. 2 and the two letters of line 3, as they appear on dozens of examples of this coin, do not bear out Prinsep’s reading,which is obviously the result of making the lettering on the coin itself conform to a word that is satisfying when taken to be Sanskrit. Other attempts to extract a satisfying Sanskrit compound out of the five aksaras in this legend reads Sri Lamka-simha by H. Krishna Shastri and Sri Lamka-vibhu by H. W.Codrington.l Due to the eminence of the last-named as a numismatist,the solution of the puzzle set by the legend proposed by him on this coin has been accepted by scholars and numismatists during the last four decades; but Codrington himself would not have desired the opinion expressed by him to stand in the way of further investigations to arrive at the real purport of the legend on this coin.

F. W. Thomas has read the Nagari characters on this coin as (1) Sri (2) Lanka (3) viha Or veha. In our opinion, Thomas’s reading Sri Lamka-viha is what the five Nagari letters actually stand for. In spite of the great authority of Thomas, Codrington did not adopt his reading, probably for the reason that-viha joined in a compound with the sanskrit Sri Lamka, cannot be given a satisfactory interpretation in Sanskrit.

Now that the legend on the Aka coin has been found to be in Elu, the possibility that viha, too, is in that language, and signifies a coin, merits consideration. Neither of these assumptions can, however, be justified from the existing Sinhalese lexicons, or from what is known about the nomenclature of ancient Sinhalese coins.

But there is, in the Samantapasadika, a single reference, hitherto not noticed by anyone (including that indefatigable numismatist, H. W. Codrington who seems to have combed the whole of the Sinhalese and Pali literature for reference to coins). In the Section called Upanidhikatha of the comments on the second Parajika, occurs the expression “dasavisagghanakarn kappiya- bhandam” permissible goods to the value often visas. The context indicates that the word visa, which literally means ‘twenty’, has been used here as the name of a coin. Otherwise, the expression dasa-visa would be ‘ten of twenties, ‘ which is not in accord with the usage with regard to the numerals in Sinhalese or in Pali. The expression cannot be taken as meaning ‘ten or twenty’ in an indefinite sense, because it occurs in a passage which gives exact details of permissible allowances. To jump from ten to twenty in an indefinite expression of numbers cannot also be expected, because in such expressions, numbers which are close to each other are given.

It may be objected that a form of the numeral twenty (P. visa), in Which the s is changed to h, has not been met within Sinhalese literature, And that it is not in use in the spoken language today. But the inscriptions show forms in which the change of s to h has been effected in words which, in the form preserved in literature, do not give evidence of this phonological change. For instance, in a Brahmi inscription of about the beginning of the Christian era, the form Vihakafor Skt. Visakha is met with.” No form derived from Skt. Visakha, in which the s is changed to h, is met with in Sinhalese literature or in the spoken language. The name of the second lunar month is Vesak not Vehak. Similarly, it is possible for the form viha, corresponding to the Pali visa and Skt. virnsa, to have existed in Old Sinhalese, without leaving any trace in the literary works or in the modern spoken language. The form vihi, in fact, occurs in an Old Sinhalese inscription, and that in a compound with kahavana (P. kahapana). In an inscription datable palaeo-graphically in about the third century, discovered at an ancient site called Veherakema in the Magam Pattu/ occurs the phrase maha-pavarana- pohoyahi dhama-samana tama karana kotu vihi-kahavana. ………… .dini ‘twenty kahapanas were granted for the purpose of listening to the preaching of the Dhamma on the uposatha of the Mahapavarana’. This inscription furnishes evidence for the use of the word vihi in about the third century, somewhat earlier than the date of the Samantapasadika. The expression vihi-kahavana may denote a coin of the value of twenty kahapanas or the sum of twenty kahapanas. But the expression dasa-visagghanakarn in the Samantapasadika definitely establishes that there was a monetary unit, known as ‘ the twenty ‘, at the time of Buddhaghosa, or somewhat earlier, and the coin meant was most probably the kahapana.

The reason for the coin being called by a name meaning ‘ twenty ‘ is not far to seek. The one-eighth of the coin is called aka, the equivalent of Pali akkha which, according to the Abhidhanappa-dipika, consisted of 2~ masakas.3 The gold coin called kalanda, therefore, was 20 masakas in weight. The silver kahapana or dharana, commonly referred to also as purana or eldling, was generally of 16 masakas , its standard weight has been established as 57.6 grains. The weight of the gold kalanda is approximately 68-70 grains Originally, therefore, the kalanda appears to have been five quarters of the kahapana in weight. The quarter was known as pala, and five of them would have been referred to as pala-panca, which term by the change of p to k, attested by many examples in the phonology of Sinhalese as well as Tamil, gave rise to Sinhalese kalanda and the Tamil kalanju, through the intermediate form of kala-kanca and kala-anca. The coin in question could have been called the visa or viha, for the above as well as the additional reason that it was equal in value to twenty of the monetary unit of accounting in those days, which was the silver kahapana. If a gold coin weighing 20 masakas of gold was equal in value to twenty silver coins of 16 masakas each, the proportion between gold and silver was one to sixteen.

In ancient India also, the gold coin which was a karsa in weight, was known by a name that appears to have been Sanskritised from a vernacular word meaning ‘ twenty ‘. According to the Amarakosa (XXVI, 87), a karsu of gold was called suvarnna as well as vista. Ksirasvamin, the commentator of the Amarakosa, however, asserts that the vista was a gold karsa of sixteen   masakas, and explains vista as derived from the root vis [bis] to go, to move, to urge on, to incite, to cast, to throw  Palaeographically, the legend of any of the known specimens of the kalanda or gold kahavanu coins, cannot be attributed to a date as early as that of the Samantapasadika or the inscription referred to above. It is, however, possible that the term, used as a money of account, was applied to some of the Roman and other gold coins of foreign origin, that were in circulation in Ceylon. In this connection, it is significant that the weight of this medieval gold coin approximates with that of the Roman solidus of the gold coin which is approximately half of the kalanda in weight not more than three or four specimens are known to exist. Of the two published specimens, that in the possession of Dr. K. C. D. Perera is the best preserved.

The legend on the reverse in two lines has been read by Dr. Perera as (1) Sri Lanki (2) ka. In my opinion, the last letter of the first line is the same as that in 1. 2, and should be read as ka. as Codrington has read the letter in that position in the specimen that he has illustrated in the C.C.C, Plate III, No. 58. The legend on this type of coin may therefore be taken as Sri Lamka ka. Of this Sri Lanka is contained in the legend on the Kalanda coins also. The distinctive part of the legend therefore is ka. Taking, on the analogy of the kalanda and aka coins, that the legend gave the weight or name of the coin itself, we can equate ka with Skt. karsa, on the analogy of Elu va being developed from Skt. varsa.

In this connection, it is pertinent to mention that the coin called kacu that was in use in the Tamil country under Cola rulers also weighed half a kalanju. Its name kacu also appears to be connected with Skt. karsa. Just as in the case of the aka, the name has come to be applied to a coin which is of a lesser weight than that denoted originally by that term. Of the medieval gold series, we are now left with only the coin referred to as daka or pala by Codrington,  which is roughly one-fourth of a kalanda in weight. The use of the word pala to denote this, appears to be not justifiable, for pala in literature, is applied to a quarter of the silver kahapana. The legend on the reverse of these coins is in one line, and has been read as Laksmi.

On some of the specimens which, from the form of the letters, seem to be of a later date, as in No. 56 and 57 in Plate III of Codrington’s book C.C.C, the legend may be read as Laksmi. These, perhaps were due to the die-cutters being not quite aware of the form and significance of the letters in the original legend. In the great majority of the specimens of these coins examined by The form vihi, in. fact, occurs in an Old Sinhalese inscription, and that in a compound with kahavana (P. kahapana). In an inscription datable palaeographically in about the third century, discovered at an ancient site called Veherakema in the Magam Pattu/ occurs the phrase maha-pavarana- pohoyahi dhama-samana tama karana kotu viM-kahavana. ………… .dini ‘twenty kahapanas were granted for the purpose of listening to the preaching of the Dhamma on the uposatha of the Mahapavarana’. This inscription furnishes evidence for the use of the word vihi in about the third century, somewhat earlier than the date of the Samantapasadika. The expression Vihi-kahavana may denote a coin of the value of twenty kahapanas or the sum of twenty kahapanas. But the expression dasa-magghanakarn in the Samantapasidika definitely establishes that there was a monetary unit, known as ‘ the twenty ‘, at the time of Buddhaghosa, or somewhat earlier, and the coin meant was most probably the kahapana.

The reason for the coin being called by a name meaning ‘ twenty  is not far to seek. The one-eighth of the coin is called aka, the equivalent of Pali akkha which, according to the Abhidhanappa-dipika, consisted of 2 masakas. The gold coin called kalanda, therefore, was 20 masakas in weight. The silver kahapana or dharana, commonly refer ; its standard weight has been established as 57.6 grains. The weight of the gold kalanda is approximately 68-70 grains Originally, therefore, the kalanda appears to have been five quarters of the kahapana in weight. The quarter was known as pala, and five of them would have been referred to as pala-panca, which term by the change of p to k, attested by many examples in the phonology of Sinhalese as well as Tamil, gave rise to Sinhalese kalanda and the Tamil kalanju, through the intermediate form of kala-kanca and kala-anca The coin in question could have been called the visa or viha, for the above as well as the additional reason that it was equal in value to twenty of the monetary unit of accounting in those days, which was the silver kahapana. If a gold coin weighing 20 masakas of gold was equal in value to twenty silver coins of 16 masakas  each, the proportion between gold and silver was one to sixteen.

[ Added by author-An alleged find by Gemmers in Kirindi Oya weighing 0.217 grams, with an akshara scratched on it is shown below]

In ancient India also, the gold coin which was a karsa in weight, was known by a name that appears to have been Sanskritised from a vernacular word meaning ‘ twenty ‘. According to the Amarakosa (XXVI, 87), a karsa of gold was called suvarnna as well as vista. Ksirasvamin, the commentator of the Amarakosa, however, asserts that the vista was a gold karsa of sixteen the present writer, the legend reads Lak-ma. Of this compound, Lak of course is the equivalent in Old Sinhalese of Sri Lamka of the two types of coins dealt with above, the Sri having been ignored. We have therefore only ma to investigate. Etymologically, the Old Sinhalese ma can be equated with Skt. masa, P. masa, ag a word denoting a weight of gold or silver. Here, of course, it is not the masa of which sixteen make a silver karshapana, that comes into consideration, but the suvarnamasaka, one-sixteenth of a suvarnna. A gold masaka in actual usage in India is said to be equivalent to 17 grains Troy.’ The coins with the legend  Lakma, given by Codrington, vary in weight between 14 and 17 grains.

The legend on the 1/4 Kalanda available to me is illustrated below to verify Dr Paramnavitnne arguments.Type I Palas is shown below.

Few more Palas is shown below for the reader to arrive at a conclusion.

The Type II De-aka or Palas with has the reading Sri La Ka Ma is shown below

In the Type III De-aka or Pala the Sri is less prominent , but La ka Ma is evident to a non-specialist of Nagari script. But we must not look at the deva-nagari script of India which differs fron place to place. We should examine the script with that of the sinhala nagari script prelevent is the Inscriptions and other coins of Sri Lanka. Read script of Ceylon type of Coins .

The Tamil madai, which was in ancient times the name of a coin, is also etymologically connected with Skt. masa. The name mada occurs in Cola inscriptions as the equivalent of kalanju. There is, however, reference in Tamil literature to a coin named madai, which was equivalent to ten kunri, the last-named being approximately 2 grains Troy in weight. A madai of this variety, it will be seen, was approximately of the same weight as Lakma. The solitary specimen of an Uttama-colan- madai, now lost, is said to have weighed 50 to 60 grains.

Dr S Paranvitane.

CONCLUSIONS.

According to the Doctor Paranavitane . the legend on the Full kalanda

Full Kalanda its SRI LA KA           VI HA – that is 20 silvers to this Gold Coin.

Adakahapana    SRI LA KA           KA– The Kacu or half Kalanda

The Pala   is        SRI LA KA           MA. The Masa or 17.5-18 Grain in weight

THE EIGHTH .  no srilaka             AKA  -May be two letter and eighth of Kalanda.

 

But some coins of type II, there may be a problem for ordinary merchant or people to read the script. Did the die maker imply   SRI LA KA AKA OR SRI LAAKA.

Lets look at  two type II Aka. It is up to experts to go into this in detail which may be  Combined Nagari letter or just Taraka, Uraka etc?.

SYMBOLS-THE TREE IN ENCLOSURE,THE TRIRATNA AND ASANA


THE TREE IN ENCLOSURE,THE TRIRATNA AND ASANA

THE TREE IN ENCLOSURE COIN.

The  Tree and Swastika coin is of copper or an alloy of it. The obverse of coin is a tree with varying number of branches[3 to 7] which is in a rectangular Enclosure having varying number of compartments[ 4 to 12] which is determined by the number of vertical and horizontal lines.  Flanking the Tree symbol is two other symbols, which  in most good coins  can be identified. The reverse has always the Railed Swastika which is flanked by two symbols and in few coins has a third[ A Caitiya] under it. In some coins the symbols  are with in circular borders and have the Three Dot mark placed between the others main marks.This  arrangement of symbols appears to be predetermined by some tradition,  the purpose or  the meaning of this type of arrangement or in an pre-determined manner. But what this was has yet to be determined   and is a challenge to future Numismatists.

THE BO TREE

The Bo-tree is an old symbol of the Indus Civilizations later a symbol of the Vedic Aryans in India.The tree was much used symbol  on Punch Marked Coins of India. It could be Tulasi tree to the Hindus.

The tree in enclosure is perhaps adopted by the Buddhist to represent the Buddha , during the period before the Buddha statue. It is shown over 50 instances on the Sanchi Stupa gateway in India and  depicted the Buddha in various Jataka stories associated with the Jatakas.[Web-sites – Monument of India- Sanchi ].
In most of the sculptures it appears with the Vajrasa or the throne where Buddha attained enlightenment. The Triratna too appears flanking the tree or the Asana at Bharut , Sanchi and Amaravati.Few example are shown below. The Triratna and Asana appear with the Bull and the Lion on ancient Indian coins and on ancient Sri Lankan Seals and sealing from Akurugoda and South of Sri Lanka

THE TRIRATNA

This as mentioned earlier is found on the Footprint of the Buddha along with the other symbols of ancient Sri Lankan coins.It is perhaps the most abundent symbols on the the PMC,s. In these it is found alone and with the Drum shaped Asana as Arms is the 6 -armed symbols. One of the earliest coins where the Tree in Enclosure is found is Gupta & Hardaker Coin Type No 369 . On this the three symbols the Tree in Enclosure , the Triratna and the Asana is of special significance, as the same combination appears on ancient Buddhist Art & sculpture. An example is shown below.These two symbols appear in either side of the Railed Swastika on the Sri Lankan coin and with the Bodhi Tree on Tree in Enclosure and Railed Swastika Coins.

The ealisest   Bo-tree in enclosure mark ,which may be identified by buddhist as the Sacred Bo-Tree under which Goutama Sidhartha attained enlightenment ,  that is on record to date may be on the kahapana of the Nanda Dynasty of India[ Gupta & Hardekar]. This coin shown below was found at Akurugoda Tissamaharama . It shows two enclosures protecting the Sacred Tree from the over zelous worshippers.

Another interesting mark that is found on a large number of coins found in Sri Lankamay be(??) a stump of a tree in enclosure. This coin is only found on coins of Asoka the Great[ Gupta & Hardekar] . This may represent at least for the buddhists the miracle of the Sri Jaya Maha-Bodhi – Tree regrowing even after two attempts to destroy it , once on the instructions of the King Asoka him self and other by his jealous Queen  as mentioned in our ancient texts.

These above coins will be much sort after pieces especially for Buddhist Numismatists.

Symbol.

It is found in Sri Lanka on the Buddha foot print at Jetavanarama [3 Cent AD] along with most symbols found ancient coins of Sri Lanka[TB Karunaratna].Few interesting interpretations of this symbols:-

  1. Dr Hettiarachchi states that the starting point of the development of this symbol was by a combination of the Sun and MOOn and it denotes the Zodiacal sign of the Taurus, the Bull which during the month of Vaisakha[april-may] which presided the Nativity of the Buddha.
  2. In RAS Journals Vol XX [1976] and XXXII91987/8] Mr TB Karunaratna describes this symbol, he is of opinion that it may take the from of the Nava-Yatthi of King Dutugemunu. He speculates that it is the power in respect of a Sovereign. He has no doubt that it is a Royal emblem. Until we know any other factors to the contrary we shall assume that this was placed of the side of the Railed swastika to the side to express the power in respect of a sovereign.

DRUM SHAPED SYMBOL

This mark is also shown on trade seals and Sealing found in Ruhuna, these are shown on above diagrams.The Vajrasana on an inscription of ancient King who used it as a sign manual is shown below , having a look alike symbol on an Maya devi coin.

For more details click on Tree and Railed Swastika Coins– An update of HW Codringtons – Coins and Currency of Ceylon-1924 .

THE ROYAL EMBLEM OF ANCIENT SINHALA KINGS


The Emblems of Royalty of Sri Lanka.

 

‘The Duties of a Monarch propounded by the Buddha stated that the root of all Social Evil was Poverty and Unemployment. A King who merely collected taxes had the duty to supply Seed and Food for those who lived by Agriculture and Animal Husbandry. Those who lived by Trade should be provided with the necessary capital. The Government Servant were properly paid or compensated so that they don’t squeeze the people. New wealth had to be generated, the Citizens was free from Robbers and Cheats, could bring up Children in comfort and happiness, free from Want and Fear. The best way to spend surplus accumulation, whether from the Treasury or from Private donations would be in Public Works such as Tanks, Hospitals, and Monasteries that provided Education, Health care, Banks etc along the Trade Routes maintained by the King.”

The Raja Anka or the heraldic Emblems of rulers of the Brihadhartha dynasty of Maghadha  was the Bull mentioned in the Mahabaratha. But the Bull symbol is a universal symbols used by other nations on the coins and art.Most  states of India too had their own Royal emblems that signifies the Royal authority of the King when placed on official documents and on coins. In fact in the text book Arthasastra of the Maghdan Empire ,the Master of the Mint was called Laksanaadhayasaka, Laksana in this name apparantly  refers to the Emblem of the King and State stamped on the coin.

Closer home, the independent states of the Southern India the Pandayan’s had the stylised fish, the Chola’s the tiger[ This Animal looks very much like a Lion, than a Tiger] , Cera’s the Bow etc. These heraldic marks was also placed on seals on copper grants etc. After about the 2 Cent AD, most  of these nations stopped using their  Emblems. The Sri Lankan used the Four Dots with a circle emblem or the Purangantha or the Vase Symbol after 2 Cent AD.After about the 6 Cent AD, they opted to inscribe on the face of the coin ,the the name of the Country and the Value  alongside the other traditional symbols. The gradual changes that took place , and why these changes took place over the last 2500 year of the  coins is a very interesting study.

The Elephant was a prominent symbol placed on coins of all different ancient Empires/Nations  in India and Sri Lanka. Most of these  different nations had their own Raja-anka on the other side of the coin.The Emblem on the reverse of their coins was a means by which   the people with in the area of Kings influence to identify  and accept  coins as money  or reject those with other emblems. A few examples of elephant and many Buddhist symbols on the obverse of the  coins with different reverse heraldic emblems is shown below.

THE RAILED SWASTIKA

The Swastika was the most popular symbol of the Indus civilisations , the later Aryan of India soon made this a religious good luck symbol. The ancient people of Sri Lanka too followed the suit and used the Swastika as a religious  or a good luck symbol .Some historian is of view this smbol also represented the Buddha or his taechings. But in ancient Sri Lanka  an emblem using swastika as the main component , standing on a central staff attended to by two short pillars on either side.This was called the Railed Swastika.

Two Important Factors is respect of the Railed Swastika.

a. Which is the most popular symbol  on ancient coins found in Sri Lanka?.  With out doubt it is this Railed Swastika, perhaps next to the Lotus- A rough estimate is that  over 10,000  ancient coins[ some of them dated to 3 cent BC]  with this symbols on them.  I have seen over 4000 of them at Museums,with Collectors and Dealers. A fair number  of ancient inscriptions of royalty has this symbol. A fair number of  seals inscribed with names and titles  of Royalty around the railed swastika has been published.

b. The Railed swastika is unique to the Island of Sri Lanka.

THE RAILED SWASTIKA ON SEALS AND INSCRIPTIONS

i.An unread inscribed Intaglio with a Railed Swastika, the mirror image of seal and this may read Ma Ha Sa[Se?] Na  Pa Tha……..to an untrained eye. This needs be read by experts. Dr Paranavitane identifies Mahasenpathi as King Dutugemunu on an inscription at              .

ii. Many Seals and sealing’ s with Railed swastika was discovered , most of them  are inscribed.The two below are legible.

    1. A clay seals with railed swastika with letters Maharaja[ Great King] is visible.
    2. A sealing with railed swastika inscribed .. [Ma Ha Ra ] Jha Ga Mi Ni Ti Sa ha de Va Na pi Ya[The Great King Gamini Tisa Devanampiya.Perhaps of King Sadatissa [ Bopeatachchi and Wickremasinghe ] . The German excavation team has published many sealing found in the same location as above sealing. The rear of these sealing was affixed on to Ola leaf’s as  the outline  of the grain of the Ola is  still visible.
  1. Cave inscriptions In Inscription of Ceylon Volume I – S Paranavitane.
    1. N0 835 :-This is found on Rock Inscriptions of kings identified as King Sada-tissa at Dambulla Inscription.
    2. No 406 :- On Gamini-Tissa and Mijhi- Maharaja at Henannegala.
    3. No 563:On Inscription of Royal Prince and Princess at Kottadamuhela identified with Queen Viharamaha devi. Ms Chandrika Jayasinghe published a coins from the British Museum of a lady Standing on a Boat of the Obverse with a Railed Swastika on the reverse.In our history a lady on  a boat can only be connected to Vihare Maha Devi , the mother of our hero King Dutugemunu.

    1. No 1018:-1027 – of a Maharaja-Gamani Abayasa– at Gallena Vihare.

    A similar coins was found by PE Pieris at Kantarodi in the North of Sri Lanka.

    British Museum Coin.

    This symbols was good enough for the ancient Maharaja to place next to their rock inscriptions and on their  Royal Seals. Henry Parker suggest that the central vertical cross bar represents the royal Standard while the four lateral lines symbolize the four fold army of ancient kings ,ie the Corp of elephants, the  Chariots, the Cavalry and the foot soldiers, He admits it is far fetched. From the above data this is quite possible and this had a strong connections with Royalty. This symbol is flanked by either the Standard, the Asana or throne and the Triratna which according to reputed writers had implicitly expressed an regal authority.

  2. The Railed swastika is usually found on the most early coins of the Island. It does not appear alone. In  good condition coins, two symbols are found on either side. In all the types of coins with the railed swastika, a few examples having the Caitiya or three arched hill appears under it.  The associations of these symbols with the railed swastika and their  placement around is a special characteristic of the Sri Lanka early coins. The significance of these symbols is quite relevant to Kingship as discussed by TB Karunaratne. This will be dealt with later.  

Of the Coins shown above, Dr DPE Hettiarchchi has speculated that the Multi symbol Elephant and Railed Swastika coin is that of Devanampiyatissa. C14 and Thermoluminance dating of layer of undisturbed layer of earth in which this type of coin was found , justify the credence of this statement. It is possible that this king had the Railed Swastika on his coin.

The Standard

In an RAS Journal Mr P Weerasinghe suggest that Mahatissa in the inscription shown above was King Devanpiyatissa. If this is so, then this suggest that  in addition to Railed Swastika , the monarch would have palced a personel monogram on thier coins , which was Dhajaya or a Standard which King Asoka used. So perhaps the Railed Swastika was the emblem of  of a particular Royal family which ruled during the issue of these coins, perhaps that  known as those of the Devanampiya Kula on inscriptions. Could it be that the Kings used the Railed Swastika symbol as the emblem that belonged to the Kula or as family emblem.Did they have their  own mongrams in addition to this??. But on coins more than one such symbol is placed around the Railed Swastika.

The Standard  suggested as used by Devanampiyatissa on coins is also found on Tree and Railed Swastika Coins, Lion and Railed Swastika Coin.

The Throne or Asana

.Mr MH Sirisoma in Inscriptions Vol II 1990 gave a number of symbols associated with inscriptions of Kings. One of them is of is from Minvila , and is of King Katakanna Tissa[ 41-19 BC].The symbol on the inscription is simalar to symbols on coins of Sri lanka with the Railed Swastika. This is found on the the King Devanampiyatissa coin on the reverse of the coin shown above to the right of the Railed Swastika. There are various forms of the Asana found on coins . The Asana is a auspicious  symbol of India and also of the Sinhalese. These Lucky symbols are used extensively of Sinhalese art and mentioned in our chronicles.those on coins are analysed on Symbols around the Railed Swastika.

THE SWASTIKA

The Swastika is found with the Inscriptions of Kings. The Swastika with out the Railing is found on our coins too.

One of the earliest inscriptions that can be historically dated from ancient text is thatof a daughter of the King Uti or Uttiya the brother of king Devanampiyatisa, and reigned after him. The cave donated to the Sanga for the benefit of her parents. This has two symbols , the first is a T on Railing and a Swastika. Therailing is similar o that of the Railed Swastika.

The First Three Lines

A Swastika –        “Success| King Abaya the eldest son of King Kuakanna and grandson of great king Tissa, the friend of Gods[ Devanampiya] dedicated the golden Vase channel at Galatataka to the Community of bhikhus in the Payelipavata monastery”.

Last Line

A Swastika-  “The great king Naga gave therefore said channel to the Sanga”.

The King Naga is identified as King Mahadathika Mahanaga [9-21 BC].

This king ‘s inscription at At Vehera  Minhintale  shown below has a Swastika below it.

The First part is of King Batiya Abaya[ 19 BC]. Great-Great-Great grand son of King Sadatissa, whose mother was Queen Vihare Mahadevi.

The second part is of King Mahadathika Mahanaga [ 9 -21 AD]- a brother of King Batiya Abaya.

The Swastika as a minor symbol on coins

This is a round Treein Railing and Railed Swastika Coin. To the right of the Tree is a Swastika symbol.

The Fish and Railed Triratna

The Fish and the Railed Triratna is found on inscription that is linked to the parent of King Dutugemunu. The Fish emblem is associated with the Kastriya of Kataragama , Dr Paravitane suggest they have connection to the Sakayan Group of Princess Baddhkacchana who came from India and some on them sttleed in the South[ Mahavansa].

Dr S paranavitane links Abi Savera as Princess Vihare mahadevi

The Fish and Triratna is popular symbols on Coins and is very common on ancient Sri lankan art.  The Railed  Triratne is not yet found on coins.

SCYTHE

A symbol on Inscription of King Sabha[ 59-65 AD]. A Scythe like symbol is seen on an inscription of King Sabha. No such symbol is found on coins, but the Deity or Standing Figure and Railed Swastika coins there are many such symbol fixed at the end of the staff .

Pahala Kayinattama Of King Saba

For  Emblem of Kings of later period.

King Gajabahu II – Peace Treaty placed on a Rock Inscription

A few symbol on coins and similar symbol on Rock Inscriptions of Kings.

SWASTIKA ON SRI LANKAN COINS


THE SWASTIKA

The Swastika is well known symbol of almost all civilizations of the ancient world. In Sri Lanka it is found on coins, rock inscriptions, and Buddhist art such as the Sacred Foot Prints. As did all other auspicious symbols on the pieces found in Sri Lanka and dated to around the 1 Cent BC.

The Swastika is found by the side of inscription connected to the Royalty of Sri Lanka in the following.The inscriptions  were published by Dr Paranavitane and on line on the Royal Asiatic Society web site http://www.rassrilankasociety.lk

1. At Mihintale.Found next to a railing similar to that on the Railed swastika in the Inscription of Maharaja Gamini-Uti,identified as King Uttiya the brother of Devanampiyatisa.
2. Periya -Puliyumkulum Found next to symbols the Triratna and Standard of a Mahatissa who is speculated to be king Devanampiyatissa.
3. Mr MH Sirisoma contends the Swastika was the sign manuals of Kings Bhatiya Abaya [19 BC-9AD] in the Inscription at Molahitiyavelagala and of King Mahadathika Mahanaga[ 9-21AD] at At- Vehera Mihintale in Inscriptions Volume II,1990.
4. The Swastika on top of Mast of a diagram of a ship in an inscription of a trade guild belonging to Devanampiya Kula.

Mr TB Karunaratna published many articles in the RAS Journals on Auspicious symbols of Sri Lanka and is of opinion that the Swastika belongs to the set of eight symbols which depicts the Anavatapta or the Male[ Purusa]principle, which is placed on the Foot print of the Buddha. The symbols found on the ancient coins are the Buddhist Triratna[ also called the Nandapadi,Taurine, vardhamana] , the The Drum shape object perhaps the Asana or Throne, the Elephant Goad,the Fish and the Pot are all found on the Buddha Foot Print.

A rare Swastika is found on an Tree in Enclosure and Railed Swastika Coin and above the Lion in the Lion and railed swastika Coin. A swastika depict the fingers of the left hand on an ancient Copper plaque with Male figure.
The Swastika is found on coin like Lead or copper Objects found in the 1990’s at Akurugoda and a few from Anuradhapura

These symbols are common on ancient Indian coins[ CATALOG OF INDIAN COINS- JOHN ALLEN] and found on the Punch- marked Silver kahapanas that are found in fair quantities in Sri Lanka.

It is on the Lion and railed swastika piece C 14 dated to 1 Cent BC by the German E$xcavation team.

The Swastika appears as one of the  auspicious symbol on the Rectangular Bull coins.The symbols are over the Bull

Why was the Swastika placed  placed on coins and other pieces of art?

a. The Swastika is considered as a symbol representing the Sun, all Sri Lankan king claim relationship to the Mahasammata Royalty descending from the Sun. Suriya and Sun God representations were found at Anurhadapura and Pollonnaruva.

b.  Swastika symbolizing a rotating disc was accepted as a auspicious symbol and is a prestigious symbol on the art of ancient Sri lankans.[ Henry Parker]

c.Chakrayudhaya is said to be the most powerful weapon associated with the Chakravarti [ Sakvithi in sinhalese]the universal king Buddha was compared to a Chakravarti and this symbol may be thus associated with buddhism. Chakraratna and the swastika may be convey the same message.

d. Or was it just a decorating symbol used to cover a vacant area on the coin.[ J Still]?. But with no commandments to adhere too, encouragement to question the teachings of precepts before putting them in to practice , the ad hoc selections  of symbols  is  not likely to be accepted by the ancient people as a mark of royalty approving the circulation of coins.