BUDDHIST CAKRAM TYPE- EARLY COINS OF THE PANDYANS.

BUDDHIST CAKRAM ?

The”Cakram” consists of two lines forming an acute angle, the apex being uppermost ; with are two crossed lines parallel to the sides of the angle which they join. All four lines end at the bottom of the symbol on the same level. This symbol but with the outer lines somewhat shorter than the inner is used by certain Tamils in the Anuradhapura District as a brand-mark for cattle.

STYLISED FISH

It is called a stylised Fish, The Fish is a symbol used by the sinhalese in their budhist art and on few of their coins. It is one of the auspicious symbol  of the eight symbols of the Astamangala.But the rendering of the above is different. to what is found on our art. The Fish on Buddhist art in Sri Lanka is found on the inscriptions some of them are associated with royalty[ S Paranavitane]. Read Fish symbol on Coins found in Sri Lanka. But the stylised fish is different to the Sri Lankan Symbols. It is the stylsied fish of the Pandayan Empire of South India.

These are obviously the  Coins of the Pandyan, perhaps of the first of their many invasion into the Island. Raja Wickremasinghe states that this Pandyan Coin introduced by the five  Pandayan who outsted King Vattagamini Abaya [103-77 BC] and these were introduced  from South India.These were  counter-marked AS LEGAL TENDER  with a Tree symbol by King Vattagamini Abeya after he regained the crown disposing of the last Pabndyan .

These coins are described in Coins and Currency of Ceylon – HW Codrington below.

CHAPTER III


9. In the place of a number of symbols punched on to the coin from time to time there appears at a later period a definite type, made up of a collection of these symbols struck from a die. This is usually the case in those parts of India, which were least affected by foreign influence ” (Rapson, Indian Coins, p. l1). Of this description are the following rectangular coins, which, distinguished by Loventhal’s so-called “Buddhist Cakram,” form one series, and are assigned to the early Pandyans. Somewhat similar coins are described by this author in his “Coins of Tinnevelly.”

The”Cakram” consists of two lines forming an acute angle, the apex being uppermost ; with are two crossed lines parallel to the sides of the angle which they join. All four lines end at the bottom of the symbol on the same level. This symbol but with the outer lines somewhat shorter than the inner is used by certain Tamils in the.Anuradhapura District as a brand-mark for cattle ; a variant with the outer lines continued beyond the apex in the form of a loop or of a pair of pincers occurs in the Northern Province and represents a makara. Mr. Still suggests that the Cakramis the same as the brand-mark ; he is almost certainly right. the symbol being a conventional fish, the well-known Pandyans badge. Of the following, the first is single-die ; –

Plate 12- PE.Peries coins found at Kantarodi

(1) Obv :Cakram, apex between taurine on r. and (?) same symbol on l, ; above tortoise r. in rectangular frame
Rev: Blank.Size : 0.41 x 0.31in. Weight: l2.9gr. Pieris, Nagadipa, Pl. XII,20
(2) Obv:In rectangular frame at bottom small elephant standing r., trunk pendent; with enclosed, flagstaff and flag to r. Above, symbol consisting of two segments of a circle, the larger one above, the smaller below, the chords facing each other and connected by five vertical lines ; this symbol resembles the Temple of Vesta. To its r., a square basket like object with semicircular handle above. Symbol to upper f. is broken away; that to lower l. indistinct. The flan on the right projects beyond the die.
Rev: Cakram Size: 1.02 x 0.98in. Weight :205.2gr. Broken. Pieris,XIII,12.
(3) Obv: In double line rectangular frame elephant as last between on l. indistinct symbol and on r,an enclosed flagstaff with flag. Above, ” Temple of Vesta ” between caitya on l. and basket on r.
Rev: In similar frame,Cakram
Size: 1.08 x 0.98 in Weight: 131.7 gr. Slightly broken on left. Pieris, XIII ,Pl 11. Good condition
(4) Obv. Elephant as last between symbol No 1 to l. and doubtful symbol to r. Above in high relief,” Temple of Vesta ” between two caityas.
Rev: In double line frame,Cakram
Size: 0.70 x 0.84 in, Weight : 99.3 gr. Broken and worn
(5) Obv: Elephant as last ; before him, “Temple of Vesta.” Above to l. similar temple and to r a three-branched tree in enclosure standing upon a caitya,
Rev: Cakram.
(6) Obv:. In rectangular frame at bottom small elephant standing 1., trunk pendent, between on L symbol No l, and on r. an enclosed tree; above, in centre (?) basket, in high relief, between enclosed tree to 1, and caitya to r. Flan at bottom projects beyond die.
Rev: In double line frame,Cakram
Size: 0.88 x 0.78 in. Weight : l38.2 gr. Pieris, XIII,9. Good. CCC-Pl.6.
(7) Obv: In double rectangular frame elephant standing l.
Rev : In line frame Cakram;
Size 0.47 x0.45in. Weight : 26.9 gr.
(8) Obv: Within line frame “Temple of Vesta,” the centre of the upper segment of which is connected by a line with the frame. To lower left” perhaps, a small symbol ; to lower r symbol No l.
Rev: In line frame Cakram.
Size: 0.53 x 0.53in. Weight : 29.7 gr. Pieris, XIII,7 Good.
Size: 0.47 x 0.41in. Weight : 20.1 gr. Slightly broken and worn.
(9) Obv : Tree in enclosure ; on l,small humped bull standing r and above, symbol 6. On r. doubtful symbol below, and caitya above.
Rev :Cakram.
Size : 0.55 x 0.53 in. Weight : 27 gr. Slightly broken. Pieris 7, XIV, 10
Size: 0.47 x 0.45 in. Weight : 16.4gr. Slightly broken and worn.

All the above were found at Kantarodai. The obverse types of these Pandyan coins have a close resemblance to the Odumabara piece, figured by Cunningham in his ” Coins of Ancient India, Pl. IV, Fig. 2.

The coin of this type in the Colombo Museum was published in 2005 byR. Krishnamurty & S Wickremasinghe. Some these coins show a counter mark of a Tree in Railing. These coins with the Pandyan stylised Fish of the reverse is probably coins of the Five Pandyan invaders. during the period of Vattagaminiabaya[103-77 BC ]. King Vattagamini regained his throne in by defeating the last Pandyan King . The placing of the counter mark of the Tree in Railing on the obverse in some coins found in Sri Lanka may been the approval of Vattagamini Abaya for these coins to be used as  legal tender, even after the Pandyan were vanquished. This very interesting observationand  was suggested by Wng Comd Raja Wickremasinghe a Past president and Founder member of the Sri Lankan Numismatist Society.

There were many invasions of the Pandyan, perhaps the next one was in period of Sena I.

Buddhist Chakram Coins- Countermarked with the Tree in Railing approving its acceptence by King Vattagamini Abeya ?

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