COINS OF KUSHANS FOUND IN SRI LANKA.


KUSHAN COIN

Kushan on Wekipedia.

The Kushan Empire originally formed in the early 1st century AD under Kujula Kadphises in the territories of ancient Bactria on either side of the middle course of the Oxus (or Amu Darya), and later based in eastern and central Afghanistan and the northwest of Indian Subcontinent.[3]

During the 1st and early 2nd centuries AD the Kushans expanded rapidly across the northern part of the Indian Subcontinent at least as far as Saketa and Sarnath near Varanasi (Benares) where inscriptions have been found dated to the first few years of era of the most famous Kushan ruler, Kanishka which apparently began about 127 AD.[4][5][6]

The Kushan were a branch of the Yuezhi confederation.[7][8] Previously a nomadic people residing in eastern Central Asia, the Yuezhi moved southwest and settled in ancient Bactria.[8]

Vima Kadbises namecorrupted* (45-78 AD)  

Kanishka, Huveshka,Vasudeva ,Kanishka-2).

The Map from the web sites ruling dynasties in Sri Lanka and in India.

The map with Coin find locations in Sri Lanka , which was 20 days sailing distance fro the Port of Kushan Empire. The trade routes spred through the other dynasties to the South.

The Dominating Rulers during the period of Kushans in India in relationship to Kings of Sri Lanka

Former Kelaniya University historian’s  in a Sinhala newspaper states that Kanishka [78-110 AD ] obtained control of the Great Northern Trade Routes between China and Rome by defeating the Chinese army. Due to this the Chinese and Roman Traders had easy access to both India and Sri lanka. During this period the Roman and Chinese mariners/traders  exchanged goods in the free ports of Sri Lanka.

During this period Sri Lanka was ruled by King Wasaba[65-109 AD]. According to Prof Jayasena  the Chinese Chronicles mentions a trade agreement between China and King Wasaba who was known as ” Rajadhiraja Devaputra. This was in 97 AD . Even Kanishka too was addressed as Devaputra in the Chinese Chronicles. According to Mr OMR Sirisena  in “Kushana Golds in Sri Lanka”- Daily News  May 28 1997 . Kushqan were the four grest powers of the world  duirng the period along  with Rome, Persia and China. Kanishka was a great patron of Buddhism and conducted the fourth  great Buddhist Council. The  Saka Era in our astrology as 78 AD is belived to be the date of accession of this King. Mr Sirisena an expert on Gold Coins of Sri Lanka describes that according to the Rasavahini an ancient text of the Island a group of Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka had had visited places of interest assciated with Buddha and  visited Devaputra nagara , which is identified the Kushan Capital Purusapura.

Coin of Huvishka from the Web

Mr Sirisena states

” I had the rare opportunity to see a gold coin of Kushana dynasty which was found in the country lying between Okkampitiya and Maligawa, perhaps a flourishing region og ancient Ruhuna.. This was of Huvishka, the succssor of Kanishka. This coins ahs a  Badfrian inscriptuion  on the obverse written in Greek script Shahonanoshao Oohki Koshaano [ King of Kings Huvishka Kusana].

Many gold coins inluding those of the Kalandas of Gold has been found in this Gem rich region. The blue Shappires of Sri lanka was worth its value in gold.

Vallipuram Gold Plate.

Kushan coins found in Kantarodi  in the North of the Island by Mr PE Peiris. A  Minister appointed by King Wahaba ,named Isiriya governed this region according to the  Gold Plate found at Vallipuram.

King Wahaba grandson King Gajabahu I , donating the Custom duties  of the Port of Godawaya[ Godapavata], which was on the deep South Coast of the Island.

Success! The Customs duties of the port of Godapavata, King Gamani Abaya granted to the Vihare.

In 1924 HW Codrington published a coin of  Vasudeva Kushan, AD 185-220 AD.

Coin Finds in Sri Lanka

1.AE,  Type : Obv: King at alter

Rev: Siva and Bull- IMC., i. Plate XIII. 9- Three or four specimens brought from Colombo.

2.Under Kushan may be included a small circular coin found at Vallipuram:

Obv: Standing figure , in Kushan coat, in line circle.

Rev: Indistinct design, consisting of two thick parallel line, one of which is curved at one end.

AE     Daimeter ; 0.53 inches.      Weight : 62.9 grains.   Peries, XIV,  21.

Private Collection

Wing Comd Raja Wickremasinghe published many Kushan Coins in his book along with Osmund Bopearachchi.

Raja Wickremasinghe was a past President of the Numismatists Society and contributed much to Sri lankan Coin History.

3.

Kushan coins in my collection.

Some Coins at the Colombo Museum.

Azes II [35-25 BC]

b

CHANK OR CONCH ON SRI LANKAN COINS.


Conch

Sanka -Right-turning conch/Chank

The right-turning white conch shell Sinhalese Sanka or Hak gediya representing the beautiful, deep, melodious, interpenetrating and pervasive sound of the Buddha-dharma which awakens disciples from the deep slumber of ignorance and urges them to accomplish their own welfare and the welfare of others;Chanks turning right has been fashioned into shape of vessels and deposited in Garbhapatras at Madirigiriya. Dr Paranavitane believes this may have been used in the anointing of kings, and deposited by that king, as a token of humble devotion to the Buddha

The conch shell is thought to have been the original horn-trumpet; ancient Sri Lankan  Text  relate heroes carrying and blowing of Conch  shells in Battle. Pussadeva the General of Dutugemunu  is famous for blowing the Conch and dispersing the enemy.

The earliest coin with a Conch, is perhaps on the Copper punch mark Coins. On one side the Conch like mark is seen. The coins of this type found in SriLanka is very worn or well used or in circulation for a long period, unlike some coins found in India which seems to be in mint condition.

Another coin with conch or Sanka found in Sri Lanka is the Bull and Elephant coin. On this coin  the Conch is found as a minor mark over the Elephant.

Another coin is where the Chank or Conch is perhaps used as indicate the phonetic value or the reading as Sanka or Sanga , as suggested by Mr KNV Seyone, a past President of the Numismatist Society. It is shown above a Bo Tree branch, which Mr Seyone suggest the sound BO. The Sinhalese Nagari Letter Sri as found on Dambedeniya coins on the other side of then coin. He suggest reading the coin as Sri Sanga Bo. The coin was perhaps issued by King Akabodhi III or IV.

The Sanka was used extensively on the Kalandas of Gold coin series issued perhaps during 7-10 Cent AD and on the coins of Pollonnaruva, Dambedeniya and those of the Kotte periods.The coin  shown below is Type I “Chank” coin named after the the Conch that is held over the Palm of the seated figure on the reverse. This is perhaps one of so far confirmed 7 or 8 veriaties  of coins of type I. 

A Conch is also attached to the left Lotus stalk on which the figure stand on the obverse of the coin. Incidently the other stalk to right ends  with a Bo– ankula. The is no Sri to complete the Viduru name of  some of the Kings – ”  Sri Sanga Bo  ” as  they addressed them selves in their inscriptions. But a distinct Srivatsa is seen over the Chank under the outstretched right hand of the King. This need further examination by any experts who has studied these coins in detail.

The chank over a Pot  is also found on the adakahapana or half Kalanda which is has on the reverse the Name of state Sri Lanka- and a nagari letter Ka, which Dr Paranavitane is the Value or equivalent to 8 silver coins.

Another coins is the quater Kalanda of Gold shown below, the legend in Nagari reads Sri[?] Lan ka Ma. which also denotes the name of issuing state and the value or weight Ma

An example of a silver Kalanda or Massa with the nagari letters Sri Lanka Va ha is shown below. Th seated figure holding a chank sits or hovers over a rectangular kostagara having 6 compartment- which according to an interpretation given by a Numismatists who spent his entire life of studing these Gold kalandas Mr OMR Sirisena – means that there is six gold masus of the total weight  of 16 Masus.

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c.

POT OR VASE ON SRILANKAN ANCIENT COINS.


THE POT /VASE.

the Pot or Vase was called Pun-kalas or Purangatha in Sinhalese. This is a good luck symbol used in eastern art and one of the eight lucky symbols called Asata-mangalasymbols.

The Purangata  or The treasure vase or Urn of Wisdom represents health, longevity, wealth, prosperity, wisdom and the phenomenon of space.

It was used on all types of art in Sri Lanka from the ancinet times. It is a popular symbol used on coins from 2 Cent BC to 21st Cent AD.Some of the coins which has a pot or vase is shown below. The Pot is associated with the Bull-  Why so  needs be clarified by experts.

The Maya devi Coin [ called Lakshmi Plaque]

The  Dots around head /Narrow waist figure and Railed Swastika Coin- Found in Strata C 14 dated at Tissamaharama- German excavations

The Pot along with a Bull astride the Royal Emblem the Railed Swastika. The Railed swastika was the symbol by few Kings of the Island of Sri Lanka on their Seals.

The Bull and Pot Coin. These coins have many characteristics of the ancient Sinhala coins.

The Rectangular Bull Coinundated perhaps a coin of King Vahaba

The Bull with Pot under his head on the obverse and Four dots in circle on reverse

The Bull with Pot under head and on reverse side in Pot with flowers. The Pot, Swastika, Srivatsa and other lucky symbol over the Bull.

The Lion and Pot

BULL WITH POT COINS PERHAPS OF THE 4-7 CENT AD.

These coins are mainly found in the Island in Jaffna, Anuradhapura and at Tissamaharama in fair quantities . They have many chracteristics of the other ancient Sri Lankan Coins and two lamps may be fore-runners to the two lamps on the Gold Kalanda series Type I of perhaps the 7 Cent AD. The have been associated with Pallavas and with South India. But only very few finds in the Indians soils. The art is also similar to the art of ancient temple of Sri lanka. The Pot in these coins are placed between two Lamp like marks. This practise is floowed on the Gold coins where the Standing figure is between two similar lamps in the quater and in the  Aka coins shown below. In some  coins of the Gold series the Lamp on the right is short. In the full Kalanda the Lamps are more elabourate and looks like Trees.

The Gold Series 8 -10 cent AD, This is the first recorded instance that the name of the Island and the value is mentioned on coins. The Island was known as Lak diva or Sri lak on inscriptions of Kings of late Anuradhapura priod to which these coins belong. The script is in Sri Lankan nagari found on our inscriptions, some on the letters are similar to the Sinhala script and hence could have been tead by an average Sri lankan. The value on coins according to Dr Paranavitane was Viha– twenty silver equvalent value; the Ka in the case of half Kalanda or Ada-kahapana, Ma in case of the quarter and Aka for the eighth. This is unique.

A Gold coin one of its kind, published in a leaflet of the Archeological Dept, found at Kuludiyapokuna. Here the usual Srivatsa found under the right hand of the Standing Figure is replaced by a Pot, over which is a Chank. Very little or nothing is written about this coin.

The Rare Adakahapana was stolen from the Colombo Museum in 2012, the stading figure is holding a Pot over which is a Chank-n a upside down question mark ?

A Pun-kalas is seen in the left hand of Nagaraja off a Guard stone in Anuradhapura period in the Ten Ruppee note of the 1970’s.

A Pot is decorated ,perhaps of Kandyam Period is on the 100 rupee note.

The Auspicious symbolon the 50th anniversary of the Central Bank Commemoration Coin has the Pun-kalas as one of the eight symbols.

The Pot is part of the official emblem found on modern coins.

The Pot/Punkalas/Purngatha is found on inscriptions that can be idenfied with Kings. The inscription of Parakramabahu I at Padaviya is one such instant.

Sena II Inscriptions too show Pots.

Kehelpota Inscription of Sena II

The images of Pots on seals and sealing are shown belowThe Pot found in Yantaragala from TB Karunaratna writings.

a