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.

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