Subsidiary Symbols

Dr D.P.E. Hettiarchchi quotes in his analysis of plaques in Royal Asiatic Society [CB] Centenary Volume

We consider it convenient to describe the subsidiary symbols on the plaque separately as some of them are been  recorded here for Symbols appearing on ancient coins of Ceylon have not been so far satisfactorily explained; ,the explanations that are been given by scholars are mostly on symbols  relating  to Indian  coins , whose counterparts are not always found on all of our  ancient Ceylon coins. An obvious line of approach to the study will be to trace in the symbols the rites, practices and beliefs of the people for whose use they were current. Sometimes it may also be possible to refer to the symbols appearing in lithic records closely resembling those appearing on the coins. On the other hand ” for the meanings of symbols we must rely on the explicit statements of authoritative texts, on comparative usage, and on that of those who still employ the traditional symbols as the customary form of their thought and daily conversation “.Dr Ananda Coomarasmamy.

The marks or symbols on the Sri Lankan type of coins are shown below.They all have a common symbol the Railed Swastika , these are flanked by two symbols at 9 and 3 o-clock. The is  the Caitiya , the boat or the three line marks uually at the bottom or 6-o-clock. The  three dots is found in a few coins types at 1-30, 4-30, 7-30 and 10-30  clock positions.

The arrangement of symbols as arranged clock wise is shown below. This may help student of Numismatics to solve  many un-aswered questions?

Is there a patent or tradition or any methodology in the arrangement, which are peculiar to locals coins?.

Can they be distinguished from coins of the states of ancient India having same symbols?

Can these be considered as characteristics or some tradition peculiar to Sri lankan Coins only ?.

Or is this arrangement ad hoc and symbols were placed to fill space or for decorative purposes ?.

The presence of 8 symbols making a few of them astamangala[ 8 Auspicious or good luck symbols ] ?.

The Bull and Pot symbol which appears on on either side of the Railed Swastika in the figure with Narrow Waist and Dots around head. Is there any relationship between  the Bull and the Taurine head[ Bull head with horns]?. What was this mark, or as what did the Sinhalese people of the ancient period interpret or accept as the customary form of their thought and daily conversation ?  Was that which struck  them as  a Bull or Triratna or both?. Both symbols are of  Buddhist significance, the Triratna -the Buddha ,the Dhramma  and The Sanga or as the Bull, as Visabha with it Characteristics of Buddha. Or was the Bull a symbol of the Ksatriya [ from Hittites] represent the King or  the Buddha was a Ksatriya him self.


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