ART IN SINHALA COINS.

             What the Book is about.
Money or currency notes and coins  is legal Tender as it authorized by Minister of Finance and Governor of Central bank easily  recognized by the familiar  Government Emblem , Pictures , the Size , the Value in word and numerals etc  , in addition to the hidden security threads, words and pictures appear under ultra– Violet light.

It was less complicated in  ancient times Coins, the Rupadaka[ Mint masters] of Sri Lanka , placed  Marks and symbols that were familiars to the ancient people of the Island. They easily recognized these symbol’ as they were part and parcel of the beliefs  and they belived brought them good luck and prevented them from unknown evil and demons. From the excavated ancient artifacts , these very same symbols are used in all or most  their art work.

The study of this  art  is the  most attractive part  in ancient coins, and there arrangement on the limited available some times bring out the Economic history of Ancient Sri lanka , beliefs /of the ancient Sri Lankan people, the Skills of Craftsmen the in producing them and the Officials who were behind the monetary system

The symbols and their arrangement, these process of producing coins was not ad-hoc but seems to have followed a set of rules and regulations. A set of rules and regulation regarding the issue of coins for the first anniversary of the coronation of kings is available in Sanskrit in a few temple libraries. This book named Vijanta Tantra was for the craftsmen who produced all types of equipment and weapons. One chapter is on production of coins. These guidelines appears to conform  to the production of coins of the Pollonnaruva period on wards. The  Coronation Coin had to be perfect in every way, was taken of elephant back around the capital and made known to the people .

There appears that at least 4 different sets  of  guideline that governed the production of coins for last 2500 years . With in each set  the arrangement was the same. The only change was the use of different symbols seleted from yhe well known Buddhist art and the set of Solos-mangala symbols., the change of shape of coins and the methods of productions.

 

The First was the Railed Swastika Sets, a distinct change occurred in the design of coins from 2 Cent AD[King Vasabha’s period?] . This was modified again in thode coins from 5-7 Cent AD and agin modified during the  late Anuradhapura period[ the Gold Series ] and continued with minor changes to the Dambedeniya/ Kotte period. The set of  Rules available to us in the Vijanti Tantra. The Local coins will be presented in that order in this book.

 

The weights, Sizes , metals etc used agree with the standards collected and written down by Kautitlya in his book Arthasastra with a local flavor., this was described in Chapter 1

The Arrangement of symbols, did the Sinhalese have a Guidelines ?.

One of the stanza in Sanskrit Book Vijantitantra states

The King Name and will be in Seven letter and begin with letter Sri placed to the left of figure of a seated King .This clause was followed with  coins issued after 12 Cent AD. But most coins prior to 3 Cent AD was not inscribed[ except the Lion and Railed swastika, having more letter].

What Symbol were used by our Kings or their Superintendent of the their Mints. The marks or symbols may fall into the following categories.

 

a) Standing lady, Seated lady. and bathed by two elephants, The Main symbol / mark shall be on a Lotus Pedestals.

b) Standing figure Males ,speculated to be  deities distinguished by the head dress, and the Staffs or Weapons they are holding