goldpekary (goldpekary) wrote,

Ancient Sri Lankan coins.

Copper oblong pieces was first published by Henry Parker. Codrington published them as an appendix to chapter III. These pieces has been found in strata that can be dated from 2 Cent BC to 4 Cent AD[ Walberg]. This is a long period and as expected there is a varied set of design are  found. The basic set of symbol follows a certain common set of symbols and there arrangement suggest a ideogram that need to solved.

(2) Struck

    5.  I-The design is that of the Chilaw cast plaques, but on the obverse is a nimbus round the head, and on the reverse symbol A is always on the right, and of the same pattern as. Junnar No. 12 ; in one instance it is the same as the left-hand symbol in variant (a) of the “ Elephant and Swastika” round coins . . .
Size .. Weight
In In .. Grains.
1.24 x 0.49 .. 41.8 .. Parker, Ancient Ceylon, No. 3 (p. 475)
1.25 x 0.53. .. 44.5 .. A.S., 41.1, Elala’s Tomb ; scaled on either side
1.l2 x 0.47 .. 37.9 .. 42c, Kiribat Vehera ; worn ..
l.l8 x 0.47 .. 26.6 .. Elala’s Tomb ; very thin and worn, with sharp edges ; two holes on one side
1.4 x 0.46 .. 52.5 .. Parker, No. I (p. 474).
1.8 x 0.46.. .. 44 .. Parker, No. 2 (p. 475),Pl,23.
There is little wear at the edges on any of the above6. –II The following is of coarse workmanship, and was found in the Kiribat Vehera:-
Obv. : Standing female figure with lotus stalks in hands,
Rev: Railed swastika revolving to right between two segments of a circle placed back to back ; the whole within an oblong frame
Size: 0.80 x 0.39 in. Weight: 13.6 gr. Slightly broken, 7. III- The remainder, forming the great majority of the plaques hitherto found in Ceylon, are best described by Mr. Still’s ib pg 206-212; Manufacture of these plaque is of the most careless description Evidently sheet copper was sliced into stripes of suitable width which were then chopped into pieces small enough to fit the die. “No single specimen that I have seen was well struck even on one side and in no instance is the whole of the device clearly visible. That this is not the result of wear may be clearly seen on examination of the edges, which remain so sharp that almost any specimen would cut the skin if drawn sharply across ones fingers. The corners too are exceedingly sharp in some instances and quite unworn.”
Mr. Still is in error in stating that any were four at Polonaruwa,
These plaques fall into two series the one with the standing, the other with the seated, figure.
(l) The standing figure with its accompaniments is a corruption of that described section 1, the Lotus flower with its stalks and elephants degenerating into a couple of staffs with an arch over the head. o f the same symbols appear. Pl, 24.

Size. Weight.
In In .. Grains.
1.53 x 0.65 .. 126 .. Parker No 47 (p. 487) symbol A as in Kuda inscription No.26; pierced
1.42 x 0.72 .. 64.3 .. Parker, No. 44; pierced

On the vast majority these symbols give way to a vase of flowers and a recumbent bull. The size ranges from 1.43 by 0,72 to 1.02 by 0.53 inch and the weight from 75 to 13.5 grains. The large and small sizes can be picked out, but the greater number are intermediate. Weight does to seem to follow size; thus one on the smaller size weigh 69.1 and the larger weigh 64.3; many of the largest are pieced clearly for suspension by the neck.
(a) Large size:
1.43 x 0.72 in
.. Weight:
75 gr
.. Parker, No.43.
Do. 1.21x 0.70in… .. do. 58 gr .. do. No..45.
Do. 1.45x 0.76in .. do. 82.5gr .. do. No. 46
(b) Small size average of 22 ,1.06 by 0.64 in. Weight 69.1, 48.1, 48, 40.3, 36,5, 29.8, 29 2, 29.2, 29, 26.4, 26. 4, 26, 25.9, 23.5,23.1, 22.6, 21.6, 21.1, 19,6, 18.7, 15.8 grains. Narrower are 22,14,4m 13.5.
(c) Intermediate’ average of 90, 1.15 by 0.69 in weight : 57.6, 57.1, 57.1, 55.9, 55.4, 55.2, 54.7, 54.2, 52.8, 52.8, 50.1, 50.1, 49.9,(good) 49.9, 49.9, 49.4, 48.9, 48.9, 48.9, 48.4(broken), 48.2, 48, 48, 47.8, 47, 47 (good), 45.6, 45.1, 45.1, 44.1(broken), 44.1, 44.1,43.6, 43.4, 43.2, 42.2, 42.1, 41.9, 41.7 (corner off), 40.8, 40.8, 40.8,(broken) 40.3(broken0. 40, 39.3, 39.1, (broken), 38.9, 38.9, 38.8, 38.7, 37.9, 37.9, 37.4(slightly broken),36.9, 36.4, 36.4, 36.4, 36.2, 36, 36,35.5, 35.2, 35 (Good) 35, 35, 34.8,34.5, 33.6, 33.6,33.1, 32.6, 32.1, 31.4, 31.2, 30.7 (holed), 30.7 , 29.2{broken), 27.3, 27.3, 27.3, 27,24.2, 21.6(worn),20.1, 19.6,gr Very Worn), Narrower are37.4, 34 grains.
(2) The seated figure with one forearm raised, has traces of what may have been elephants over the shoulders, As the seat is apparently a lotus flower the figure is all probability that of Lakshmi. Has the swastika with the flower pot and bull .Pl 25
Size .. Weight
In In .. Grains.
I 25 x 0.76.. .. - .. Parker, .No. J6
1.20 x 0.62 .. 74 .. do. No.37
1.09x 0.62 .. 40 .. do. No.38
1.21 x 0.7l .. - .. do. No.39
1.24 x 0.75 .. - .. do. No.40
1.31 x 0.74 .. - .. do.No.41
1.50 x 0.79. .. 0.74 .. do. No, 42
1.35 x 0.82.. .. 65.7 ..
1.16 x 0.78.. .. 57.7 ..
1.14 x 0.74.. .. 52.9 ..
8. Mr. Still, writing in 1907 with reference to the struck pieces described in the last section, held in opposition to- Mr. Parker that the plaques were not coins, basing his contention on the great variation of weight and the unworn condition of the edges. These in the case of some two hundred specimens are such that it is impossible that the plaques could ever have been in circulation,, The workmanship is coarse to a degree, and, as some are pierced for suspension from the neck, it seems likely that they were in use as votive offerings and amulets, for which last purpose the image of the goddess of prosperity and the swastika were eminently suited. Though the Chilaw plaques were not before him, the same conclusions apply. Their weight varies from 129.1 to 65.3 grains, and as with the “Elephant and Swastika” circular coins, which range from 301.6 to 148 grains, they cannot be divided into pieces of different denominations, only one of the whole ” find ” being very markedly larger than the rest. The plaques, however, differ from the circular coins, of which the lowest in weight are the most worn, in that the heaviest are not those in the finest condition, while some of medium weight are practically perfect. If coins, these last should be kalanjus, but it is difficult to explain the. higher weights. It is true that the edges of all show signs of, wear; it is, however, quite possible that this is due not to currency as money, but, to the fragile nature of the composite metal. From the absence of a number of symbols and from the general style these plaques must be of a date subsequent to the large circular coin so and approximately contemporary with the ” Tree and Swastika ” pieces ; the base metal of the period is either round or square, and it seems improbable that a people accustomed to these would adopt the awkward oblong shape On the whole it is likely that the cast plaques severed the same purpose as their die-stuck successors.

ALSO More Ceylon:
Sri Lankan coins: 卍.
Sri Lankan coins: ELEPHANT AND 卍.
Sri Lankan coins: ELEPHANT AND 卍. Part Two.
Sri Lankan coins: ELEPHANT AND 卍. Part Three.
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