COINS – KING VIJAYABAHU I TO KOTTE PARAKRAMABAHU VII.

HW CODRINGTON- COINS & CURRENCY OF CEYLON -1924

Top -Sri   2 Row Ma [ Ka la na??]……. 3 Row  ve thi     4 Row Me? Shi ?

                      Coin of Queen Kalyanavati.

The Coin of Queen Kalyanavati is not  Published in  CCC- Codrington 1924. She is the queen of King Nissankamalle and she reigned

The Above coin was shown to the  ASri Lankan Numismatics Society by Mr OMR Sirisena Vice president SLNS-in  1994.Another coin was shown   by Mr Ruvan Fonseka- at SLNS Meeting 2011.

CHAPTER VI-MEDIAEVAL CEYLON(contd from Coins of Vijeyabahu I).

Sinhalese of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries 3. The coins of the Sinhalese rulers of this period are traditionally known to the people as Dambadeniya kasi, “Dambadeniya money,” a designation correctly indicating the dynasty by which they were last struck. According to Casie Chetty, they were styled by the Tamils as peykasu, ” demon money ” ; peypperuman Kasi,” demon king’s money ” ; or lrarvnam kasu, “Ravanas money” (J.R,A.S., C.B., Vol. I, No, l, 1845, p. 80). With the exception of the ” Lion ” coin of Parakrama Bahu[ Kotte period 15 Cent AD] and the rare eighths, this coinage is of one type, closely following that of the later gold pieces of Vijaya Bahu I. The human figure, however, is even less well executed.

On the obverse the normal head consists of an irregular oblong & the right side being a vertical line, from which projects three horizontal strokes representing the nose, mouth, and chin ; the bottom is also horizontal, while the back and top are formed by a curved line bulging outwards at the crown of the skull. The forearm is bent sharply down, the elbow being shown as an acute angle; the hand grasps a Sri Vatsa.

The dhoti is shown as on type III of Vijaya Bahu I, the line between the legs being very fine and often obliterated ; it seems to haven been the central guiding line of the die engraver, as it is sometimes continued across the head. The lotus plant, with the exception of the finials, is a fine line, and is often absent.The Finials are the Chank and the Jassamine flower.

To the right are five balls, while to the left on some coins is a faint trace of the outermost symbol.

The left hand holds a Pichchamala or Jassdmine Flower.

Reverse

On the reverse the head and crown are as on the obverse, with the exception of one coin of Parakrama Bahu, which has a tuft in place of the makuta. In the hand is a chank shell.

The left leg is perpendicular, and nearly in a line with the body. The legend is more regular than the Cola, from which the script differs slightly. The asana usually is represented by a straight line from which four or five short lines project, or it is crossed by that number of lines ; but it is often faint or omitted.

        The head, when not normal, is of three types :-

(a)(l) As normal, but without the eye ;

(2) As (a) (1), but the middle horizontal stroke curves upwards towards the right.

(b) Central horizontal stroke crosses the vertical-

    (1) Without the eye ;(2)
    (2)As (1), but with the eye and a small tongue-like projection ;
    (3) As (2), but without the eye ;

(4) As (1), but the central horizontal stroke ends to the left in an upward curve, as if it had run into the eye.

(c) vertical line absent-

( i) (l) Central horizontal stroke ends to the left in a dot ;

      (2) As (l), but left end of stroke curves upwards ;
      (3) As (1), but without the dot ;
      (4) As (3), but central horizontal stroke curves upwards on the right;
                  (5) As (3), but with tongue-like projection as on (b)(3).

(ii) Central horizontal line extend to the back of the head.

The variations in the legends, of which only the principle are noted, are based on Mr. Still’s ..” Notes on the variations of the copper Massas of six Sinhalese Rulers ” (J.R.A.S., C.B.,XVIII, No. 56, 1905), to which paper I am otherwise indebted.

4. Professor Rhys Davids assigns the copper coins of Parakrama Bahu to the first king, and those of Vijaya Bahu to the second king of the name, Mr. Still, however, has adduced valid reasons for believing that the ,Sri Vijaya Bahu coins were issued by Vijaya Bahu III or IV, in that these pieces agree with those of Bhuvaneka Bahu, both in fabric, in metal, and in irregularity of legend. But he suggests that the Sri Parakrama Bahu copper, which,,though agreeing with that of Vijaya Bahu and Bhuvaneka bah in size and metal, is of greater uniformity! in fabric and legend, should be still assigned to Parakrama Bahu I, adding : ” An additional point in favour of this arrangement is that it gives to Parakrama Bahu the Great the credit of having introduced this style of coinage into Ceylon ” This argument is somewhat discounted by the fact that the coinage of the ” Ceylon type ” in the Island dates at least from the tenth century, if not earlier.

(l) The metal falls into two distinct categories, as it corrodes (a) a very dark green or black, and (D) a light green, sometimes with a rid crust, The latter, appearing to be ordinary copper, is used by Vijaya Bahu and Bhuvaneka Bahu, and, with a few exceptions, by Parakrama Bahu; the metal of this kind employed by this king, however, is not so poor in quality, That issued by Nissanka Malla, Lilavati, Sahasa Malla, Codaganga, and Dharmmasoka Deva is less liable to corrosion ; the copper is mixed with silver, and has a whitish sheen when rubbed2. A few of Lilavati’s coins seem to be of the same metal as the light green of Parakrama. In addition, a large number of the coins of Nissanka Malla and Codaganga, at least one of Sahasa Malla, and probably all of Parakrama Bahu’s with the markedly long kra, are of a distinctly white metal, sometimes with a copper tinge, and often with a black patina ; these being lighter than the coins of the ordinary metal may be of a composition of copper and tin or zinc. A few of these are washed with silver.

(2) In point of fabric, the coins from Nissanka Malla to Dharmmasoka Deva are well struck, and of two sizes( 0. 80 and 0.78 inch), with a few above and below ; those of Parakrama Bahu, with 4 few exceptions to be noted later, of Vijaya Bahu and Bhuvaneka Bahu are of three sizes (0.78,0 .75, and 0.72 inch), also with a few above and below. The coins of Parakrama Bahu are usually well made ; those of Vijaya Bahu and Bhuvaneka Bahu often are far from being so. The falling off in technique may be illustrated by the treatment of the extended left hand of the figure on the obverse. This on the coins of the three last named kings is some times bent downwards as if dislocated, the percentage in which this occurs being 29.2, 67.9, and 71.7 respectively.

The Sinhalese minters seem to have aimed at placing the design on the reverse parallel to that on the obverse, the bottom of the latter corresponding with the top of the former. This result was not always obtained, and in the following table all, in which the central line of the dhoti on the obverse corresponds with any position between the back of the head itself and the outstretched hand, have been considered as normal ; those in which the line falls within in eighth of .the diameter reckoned from the top centre are entered as being approximate ‘ erratic. For the sake of convenience of reference, Mr. Still’s average diameters and weight in gramme’s are inserted

Sovereign No.of Coins Normal Approximate Erratic Percentage of Erratic Diameter Mm Weight Gm
Parakarma Bahu:-
White 2 1 19.65 3.71
Black 1 1 20.31 4.07
Usual 114 35 12 67 58.7 19.44 4.2
Eighths 2 2
Nissanka Malla:-
White 16 9 5 2 12.5 20.21 3.97
Usual 33 11 18 4 12.1 20.82 3.98
Lilavati. 84 41 36 7 8.3 20,47 4.26
Sahasa Malla :-
White l 1 1 21.00 3.61
Usual 143 93 45 5 3.4 20.20 4.40
Codaganga :-
White 16 10 6 19.90 3.87
Usual 17 8 8 1 8.3 21.07 4.05
Dharmmasoka Deva 34 18 13 1 8.3 > 21.07 4.27
Do 23 12 9 3 8.8 20.40
Vijaya Bahu 78 10 17 -51 64.3 19.17 4.07
Bhuvaneka Bahu 76 7 7 62 81.5 19.0 4.13

(3) As Already stated the legend on the Parakrama Bahu coins are very uniform but vary greatly of , those of and Bhuvaneka BahuTaking the above facts into consideration, it is evident that. from the purely numismatic point of view :position of the Parakrama Bahu coinage is made of metal corroding a light green colour and should be between that Dharmmasoka Deva , or of the last rule of Lilavati and that of Vijaya Bahu or , in other words, it should be assigned to the long reign of Parakrama Bahu II, If this is so , the base metal coinage of the latter Polonnaruwa—Dambadeniya period falls into two series; the one made of white metal or of copper mixed with silver–of the reigns of Nissanka Malla and his successors down to Dharmmasoka Deva or Lilavati-and the other made of metal corroding a Light green of the reigns Parakrama Bahu, Vijaya Bahu ,and Bhuvaneka Bahu3. The two series are dibvided chronologically by the anarchy ensuing on the last disposition Lilavati and by most ; most of the reign of Kalinga usurper Magha. The Sri Parakrama Bahu white and black pieces being of the fabric of the first series may now be attributed to Parakrama Bdhu the Great, who, like his successor Nissanka Malla, seems to issued but few coins. This assignment is supported by the only coins found by the Archaeological Survey of Beligala occupied by the Tooth Relic under Vijaya bahu III (Mhv.,LXXXI 33; Report on the Kegalla District p 27), these were 2l of Sahasa Malla 14 of Lilavati ,2 of Dhammasoka Deva and not a single piece of Parakrama: Bahu ,Vijaya Bahu, or Bhuvaneka Bahu.Against the attribution to Vijaya Bahu IV, in preference to the third of the name, it may be urged that first-named prince only reigned as an independent soverign for less than 2 years and would not nave issued in such quantities as are found. But it may be observed that the most prolific issues of this class of money comes from the mints of Sahasa Malla, whose reign lasted but two years. In the order indicated by the Numismatic evidence is correct and the coins have to be-assigned to Vijaya Bahu,the credit of reviving the Sinhalese coinage:rests with the “omniscient pudits of the kaliyuga Age”. “‘ Parakrama Bahu II, whose restoration of the internal economy of the realm is a described in chapter LXXXIV vv 1-6, of the Mahavansa. But it is just possible that the better struck Sri Vijaya Bahu pieces may have struck by Parakrama’s father ; it is, however. Strange that Beligala which must have a place of popular resortthrough out his reign until the removal of the tooth relic by his successors , should have furnished no specimen of his issues. The popular attribution of the mediaeval copper to Dambadeniya period alone stands in the way of our assigning the Vijaya Bahu and Bhuvaneka; Bahu and even some of the Parakrama Bahu,coins , at least in part to a sunsequent ruler of these names ; the Sinhalese version of Ummaga Jatakaya( Appendix A, 32(b)), proves that coins issued under Parakrama Bahu IV.5. In the following pages have been included the gold and silver coins, as well as the copper “half” and “quarter massa,” appearing in Colonel B. Lowsloy’s ” Coins and Tokens of Ceylon”(Nunismatic Chronicle. Series III, Vol. XV, 1895. It is known that not a few of the coins ia this writer’s collection were spurious,and unless confirmed by finds, the authenticity of his gold and silver pieces is open to suspicion.6. Coins which at first sight may be taken for the half of the usual copper piece, though of irregular weight, are found, but almost invariably are in a poor and corroded state. these are in most cses ver worn kahavanu indeed, a good specimen of the whole coin of Parakrama Bahu has been met with, which, when cleaned only weighed 48 grains, while two coins of Lilavati and Vijaya Bahu, the first in a fair and the second in a good state of preservation, measure 0.72 and 0.68 inch, and weigh 39.6 and 5l.8 grains, respectively. A few, however, are clearly of a much smaller size, about 0.59 inch, which is that of Lowsley’s silver ” quarter” of Bhuvaueka Bahu. Trc Aie is of the usual dimension, and, if these coins have not been out down subsequently, it .is just possible that small blank were used for the halves ; a fairly good specimen of Sahasa Malla weighs 26.6 grains. Exactly similar Cola pieces of the late Raja raja type occurred in the collection of Mr. R. Sewell (F. Edward’s catalogue, February, 1919).7. The few copper coins of a period before the second half of the twelfth century are all, with the exception of one of Raja raja I in the British Museum, either gilt or silvered ; they are

Weight in Gr
(l) Kahavanuva,III A Gilt 54.9
(2) Kahavapava,III B do 37.3
(3) Kahavanuva,III B do. 63.2
{4) Kahavapuva,IIIB do. 49.4
(5) Kahavanuva,III B Silvered 38.5
(6) Rajaraja do 52.3
(7) Rajendra Gilt. 43.6
do 49.9
(9) Vijaya Bahu do 27.3
(10) Vtjaya Bahu Silvered 57.7

They may be either forgeries of coins of the precious metals or ” pious frauds ” for the purpose of presentations to a temple or burying in a dagoba.  Nos. 5, 7, and 9, with the silvered copper coin of Prthviganga (V, chap. VII , KONGU), were actually found in the Topavewa Tank , dagoba (A.S, 1909, p. 30), but the great variation or weight; may point to the coins of this class being in many cases ancient forgeries.

Since the publication of this book, coins of  King  Jabahu and a Queen  Kalyanavati the widow of King Nissankamalle has been found by members of the Numismatist Society.

2 thoughts on “COINS – KING VIJAYABAHU I TO KOTTE PARAKRAMABAHU VII.

  1. Sir I found few small massa coins and has issue of identifing them.

    I got 3 Buwanekabahu, 1 Parakramabahu and 1 Sahasamalla coin. Waights are butween 2.3g – 3g and Sizes are little bit smaller. Some coins have dotted cycle but the dots are very smaller than the one massa.

    Need to know what is the waight range for the 1/2 massa coins
    Wheather there is any dotted cycle
    Weather there is any size difference of letters or Standing figure
    What is the thickness of the coin
    What should be the price range I should pay for the seller for that sourt of coin.

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