Inscribed – Coin like pieces of Sri Lanka.

The first coin like object inscribed in the script used by the Sinhalese from the early historical period was excavated during Gedige and Salgaswatte digs. The strata in which the coin inscfribed Dataya were found was dated to Pre 300 BC.These were of copper, later Ms Chandrika Jayasinghe published Lead inscribed coin like pieces from Tissamaharama in the South of the Island. A large number of these pieces were later published by Bopearachchi and Wickremasinghe. These discoveries did not agree with the exsisting theories  about the history of coins in Sri Lanka. The belief that the first ever coin of Sri Lankan origin was that of Parakramabahu I [ Rhys David]was later replaced with the theory that the Gold Kalanadas were the first coins of true Sri Lankan origin. When in 1883,  Henry Parker first found these coin like pieces with the Railed Swastika , the opposition  by John Still in JRAS Journal Vol XIX 1907, must be read by all interested in ancient coins of Sri Lanka. With new discoveries a few Numismatist still call John Still statement that ” The Swastika is no more royal than is a four leaved shamrock” is brilliant. He misses the point that the SWATIKA by it self IS FOUND ON A FEW COINS , BUT A COMPLETE DIFFERENT A UNIQUE COMBINED OF A RAILED SWASTIKA IS ON MOST COIN OF ANCIENT SRI LANKA.

Even when an inscribed coin the Lion and Railed Swastika[ Complex No 186.6 Trench 3 E- 5 Cent AD], which is also in the ancient script used by the Sinhalese kings on their contempory inscription and seals along with the Railed Swastika, this is not even compared with Lion and railed Swastika coins found[ in Complex  189  dated to 1 Cent BC ]at different strata in the same dig. But the trouble these critics took  to compare these coins with coins of the Maharati’s[ Maharathi has a Lion but no railed swastika] is almost unbelivable. The Mahasens Lion and Dots was found in the same dig[ Complex No186.13 trench 3 E], but no comparision was made. But the reading of the script[ script on copins similar to 1 Cent BC] on  this Maharathi coin of the 5 Cent AD is co-related with the script of a Lion and Railed Swastika Coin found in strata at Anuradhapura dated to 190-100 BC.

So those with these coins should not write off these as votive pieces or that our Numismatist Society wont be renamed Society of Temple Tokens.A lot of coin like objects published by Raj Somadeva is shown below.

Agitaraha– Belongs to Agitara

Provenance : Akurugoda, Tissamaharama in Hambantota District Context : un-stratified Medium : metal (lead) Present location : Brig. B. Munasinghe collection,
“Obverse of these coins is badly deteriorated. The diameter of this coin is 1.6cm. On the
Reverse are five letters to be seen. These letters are carved out in considerably thick lines of the each letter does not exceed 4x3mm. These letters are very similar to the script used in Sri Lanka in the first century BC.
The word Agitara is occurs in this inscription as a personal name. It appears here in 1st person masculine gender genitive case and singular form. The word Agitara is a combination of two Sanskrit words Agni; ‘fire and traya; ‘three‘. Mahabharata mention about three holy fires namely Grahapatya, Ahvaniya and Daksina. Therefore it is evident that the North Indian ideology affects the literate groups of the contemporary Sri Lankan society.

2. Raya Cinta nama   The king named Cinta
Location:Akurugoda  Context ;Tissamaharama in the Hambantota District Medium :un-stratified metal ( legal)   Present ownsr:Brig. B. Munasinghe collection.
The obverse of this coin is bearing a fish motif facing an upward position. A crescent symbol is precisely placed above the fish mark. On the left side of this figure there is a symbol almost similar to the letter ‘ci‘ of the Brahml script used circa 250 BC in Sri Lanka.
On the reverse there are seven letters running along the edge of this disk. In the middle, there is a symbol of a turtle. The size of the letters is 3×3 mm. The diameter of the disk is 1.6 cm.
The word raya here can be derived from Skt. raja, which means ‘the king’. In Prakrit this word appears in a slightly different form. For instance, rana was used in the Bovattegala cave inscription (ASCAR 1950:28) to describe the same meaning as Skt. raja. The word raya in the present inscription may have been used as an alternative form of the Prakrit word rana. Usually,the persons who bear the epithet raja were affiliated to the contemporary politico-economic sphere of Sri Lanka. There are two prominent examples, which can be cited here to confirm this statement. The first one is the term Pacina raja that appeared in the cave inscription at Ambulambe in the Matale District (ASCAR 1911-12:121). The second example is coming from the Yatahalena Vihara of the Kegalle District (CJSG. 11:203).

3. muka pahana The seal of…………muka Location : Akurugoda, Tissamaharama in the Hambantota District Context : un-stratified Medium : terracotta Present location : Brig. B. Munasinghe collection
This is a fragmentary baked clay object in an oval shape in its original state. The diameter of this object is 3.5cm and 9mm in its maximum thickness. The details are only visible on one side of it, which was flattened and smoothened. On this surface there is a figure of lion placed in his sitting posture facing right. The letters are indicated below the figure of the seated lion. Only five letters remain in the legend. According to the space allowed in the object there would have been another two letters at the beginning of the legend but now they are missing due to the fragmentary nature of the object.
The remaining letters of the legend can be read as… .mukapahana. I suppose that the existing part of the legend can be divided as ……. muka and pahana. The word pasana can be derived from Sanskrit word pasana, which can be used to decribe the earthly substance (Ibid: 624). It was a usual practice in the historical period of Sri Lanka describing the objects made out of rock or rocky substance as pahana. For instance the moonstone was termed in the classical literature as sandakadapahana (Nanamoli (ed) 1971). The incomplete first part of the entire legend may have been the adjective for its successive word pahana.
According to the paleography, the letters of this clay object can be ascribed to the first century AD. The extension and the slightly curved nature of the lower part of the vertical lines of the letters is one of particular characteristic shown by the script at that time (for example, see Paranavitana 1983: 39 p.). Especially the letter ka in the present inscription is showing such development in its form.

4.’Sivaha ‘-belongs to Siva Location:Akurugoda, Tissamaharama in the Hambantota District. Context: un-stratified Medium:metal (lead) Present location:Brgd. B. Munasinghe collection
This coin is 1.3 cm in its diameter. The letters are 4×3 mm in its size. A figure of a fish is placed in the middle of the obverse of the object facing right. This figure is mounted by an elaborated decoration of flower petals running round the edge of the coin. On the reverse side there is a representation of three triangular icons connected with their horizontal lines. The legend is placed below this figure. These three triangular icons may represent the holy Trikutas (Three Mountains) of the Hindus. The legend of this coin can be read as ‘Sivaha‘.
Siva is a god of Trimurti of the Hindus. According to the Puranas the god Siva is responsible for the destruction of the present world (Stutley 1985:131). From the beginning of the second century BC, there is evidence to understand that the name of this god had been used by the people as their personal name.

5. Majjhimaha belongs to Majjhima. Location: Akurugoda, Tissamaharama in the Hambantota District. Context : un-stratified Medium : metal (lead) Present location : Brgd. B. Munasinghe collection
This coin is 1.3cm in its diameter. The obverse of the coin contains a figure of a lion in its standing posture. Its tail is uplifted and the front paw is raised. The six of the letters are 4×3 mm.
On the reverse there is a dot placed on the centre of the coin.
The legend indicated in the reverse of the object can be read as Majjhimaha. This word is used here as a personal name. It is derived form Sanskrit word madhyama, which means ‘middle’,or ‘medium’. The word Majjhima has been used by the people throughout the history in its distinct forms. Even in the modem Sinhala language the word maddyama is used in its modem form as a personal name (see, Maddumabandara, Hevamadduma etc.).

6.’nata Atapanaya ‘ belongs to Atrapani, a dancer Location: Akurugoda, Tissamaharama in the Hambantota district. Context: un-stratified Medium: metal (lead) Present location: Brgd. Munasinghe collection.

To a nobody who has not studied anc ient script or langauge, it reads Nata- Ata Panaya- Perhaps eight of these pieces made up a Panaya [ A piece of eight], an ancient value or money. But the explanantion given by Dr Raj Somadeva is.
This is a coin circular in shape. The diameter of it is about 1.07cms. The reverse of this coin is depicting a human figure in a standing posture. The obverse of the coin contains a legend written in Brahmi characters. The letters of this small inscription can be read as nata atapanaya and belongs to the period between 250-100 BC. This word ‘Atapanaya’ seems to be a proper name. But it is rather an unusual name in the early Prakit language of Sri Lanka. It is important to look at the last syllable of this word. The word terminating with the consonant ‘nata Atapanaya belongs to Atrapani, a dancer Location: Akurugoda, Tissamaharama in the Hambantota district. Context: unstratified Medium: metal (lead)

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19 thoughts on “Inscribed – Coin like pieces of Sri Lanka.

  1. Hi Sir

    I want one coin from your collection. Can you sale that for me?

    • What coin type do you want?. Do you collect and do you any coins.etc

      • //What coin type do you want?//

        I want only one coin from this post. I am not a coin collector. But the coin which has the text “Raya Cinta nama” is what I want.

        If you have any similar types of coins which have “Raya Cinta nama” means I want those also. Can you send your mailid to this address.

        smrajasubramanian@gmail.com

  2. Did you see my message?

    Can you draw the letters in the coin which have “Raya Cinta Nama” and upload here?

    The letter “ra” is not clear to see. Can you maximize the letter and upload?

    Thanks.

  3. Please upload the coin number 5 which was mentioned in this post. The coin which have the letters “Majjhimaha”.

    May I know how much letters were used to mention the name “Majjhimaha”?

    Probably I guess 4 letters. Ma Jhi Ma ha. Is it right?

    I want this coin also. Reply me if you like to sale that coins to me. If you not interested to sale that coins please mention here and upload that picture.

    Thanks.

    • I am attaching the first coin Cinathirana but the other coin is at the Colombo Museum so I am attaching the readings of another coin off Raja Wickremasinghe collection

      On Mon, Jan 5, 2015 at 1:48 PM, Ancient Sri Lankan coins wrote:

      >

      • Ok. Thanks for the info sir.

        //I am attaching the first coin Cinathirana //

        means are there more coins with Cinathirana? I hope so.

        //but the other coin is at the Colombo Museum //

        Can you say that Coin Number and book name sir? Totally How much coins with the name Cinathirana?

        // I am attaching the readings of another coin off Raja Wickremasinghe collection //

        I am not able to view it sir. May I know where is that coin? Did you send any mail to me?

        I have one coin’s picture which have the Letters Ma Ji Ma Ha. But that coin reverse is Elephant. But the coin you mentioned is with Lion and Ma Ji Ma Ha. Can you say that Coin Number and book name for the coin which have Ma Ji Ma Ha and Lion sir?

        Thanks.

      • I only know of one coin like piece with this sub king perhaps from the south,

      • Ok Sir Thanks.

  4. Ok. Thanks for the info sir.

    //I am attaching the first coin Cinathirana //

    means are there more coins with Cinathirana? I hope so.

    //but the other coin is at the Colombo Museum //

    Can you say that Coin Number and book name sir? Totally How much coins with the name Cinathirana?

    // I am attaching the readings of another coin off Raja Wickremasinghe collection //

    I am not able to view it sir. May I know where is that coin? Did you send any mail to me?

    I have one coin’s picture which have the Letters Ma Ji Ma Ha. But that coin reverse is Elephant. But the coin you mentioned is with Lion and Ma Ji Ma Ha. Can you say that Coin Number and book name for the coin which have Ma Ji Ma Ha and Lion sir?

    Thanks.

  5. Sir,

    Please reply me whether you like to sale this coin ( Cinathirana ).

    Thanks.

  6. Hi Again Sir,

    Did he returned the coin? If not means can you give me his contact number? Please send to my below mail. smrajasubramanian@gmail.com

    I want this coin or its enlarged photo letter by letter.

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