goldpekary (goldpekary) wrote,

Sri Lankan coins: 卍.

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Railed swastika
2019-08-30 23:30 (местное) Select
The composite symbol denoted here as a "railed swastika" is actually a symbol that symbolizes "the Four Noble Truths" (bottom) that emphasizes "the Noble Eight fold Path"(swastika) that determines "the Middle Path."
"Составной символ, обозначаемый здесь как «рельсовая (именно так дословно переводится!) свастика», на самом деле является символом, который символизирует «Четыре Благородные Истины» (внизу), что подчеркивает «Благородный Восьмикратный Путь» (свастика), который определяет «Средний Путь»."
За помощь в переводе благодарю Алонсо Кихано.
2019-09-05 02:58 (местное) Select
Thank. The information is very interesting. I am NOT the author of the text. This is a copy paste from the site

Пунктуация, нумерация, курсивы и всё такое прочее максимально сохранены авторские
The Duties of a Monarch propounded by the Buddha stated that the root of all Social Evil was Poverty and Unemployment. A King who merely collected taxes had the duty to supply Seed and Food for those who lived by Agriculture and Animal Husbandry. Those who lived by Trade should be provided with the necessary capital. The Government Servant were properly paid or compensated so that they don’t squeeze the people. New wealth had to be generated, the Citizens was free from Robbers and Cheats, could bring up Children in comfort and happiness, free from Want and Fear. The best way to spend surplus accumulation, whether from the Treasury or from Private donations would be in Public Works such as Tanks, Hospitals, and Monasteries that provided Education, Health care, Banks etc along the Trade Routes maintained by the King.
The Raja Anka or the heraldic Emblems of rulers of the Brihadhartha dynasty of Maghadha was the Bull mentioned in the Mahabaratha. But the Bull symbol is a universal symbols used by other nations on the coins and art.Most states of India too had their own Royal emblems that signifies the Royal authority of the King when placed on official documents and on coins. In fact in the text book Arthasastra of the Maghdan Empire ,the Master of the Mint was called Laksanaadhayasaka, Laksana in this name apparantly refers to the Emblem of the King and State stamped on the coin.
Closer home, the independent states of the Southern India the Pandayan’s had the stylised fish, the Chola’s the tiger[ This Animal looks very much like a Lion, than a Tiger] , Cera’s the Bow etc. These heraldic marks was also placed on seals on copper grants etc. After about the 2 Cent AD, most of these nations stopped using their Emblems. The Sri Lankan used the Four Dots with a circle emblem or the Purangantha or the Vase Symbol after 2 Cent AD.After about the 6 Cent AD, they opted to inscribe on the face of the coin ,the the name of the Country and the Value alongside the other traditional symbols. The gradual changes that took place , and why these changes took place over the last 2500 year of the coins is a very interesting study.
The Elephant was a prominent symbol placed on coins of all different ancient Empires/Nations in India and Sri Lanka. Most of these different nations had their own Raja-anka on the other side of the coin.The Emblem on the reverse of their coins was a means by which the people with in the area of Kings influence to identify and accept coins as money or reject those with other emblems. A few examples of elephant and many Buddhist symbols on the obverse of the coins with different reverse heraldic emblems is shown below.

The Swastika was the most popular symbol of the Indus civilisations , the later Aryan of India soon made this a religious good luck symbol. The ancient people of Sri Lanka too followed the suit and used the Swastika as a religious or a good luck symbol .Some historian is of view this smbol also represented the Buddha or his taechings. But in ancient Sri Lanka an emblem using swastika as the main component , standing on a central staff attended to by two short pillars on either side.This was called the Railed Swastika.
Two Important Factors is respect of the Railed Swastika.
a. Which is the most popular symbol on ancient coins found in Sri Lanka?. With out doubt it is this Railed Swastika, perhaps next to the Lotus- A rough estimate is that over 10,000 ancient coins[ some of them dated to 3 cent BC] with this symbols on them. I have seen over 4000 of them at Museums,with Collectors and Dealers. A fair number of ancient inscriptions of royalty has this symbol. A fair number of seals inscribed with names and titles of Royalty around the railed swastika has been published.
b. The Railed swastika is unique to the Island of Sri Lanka.
i.An unread inscribed Intaglio with a Railed Swastika, the mirror image of seal and this may read Ma Ha Sa[Se?] Na Pa Tha…… an untrained eye. This needs be read by experts. Dr Paranavitane identifies Mahasenpathi as King Dutugemunu on an inscription at

ii. Many Seals and sealing’ s with Railed swastika was discovered , most of them are inscribed.The two below are legible.

  1. A clay seals with railed swastika with letters Maharaja[ Great King] is visible.

  2. A sealing with railed swastika inscribed .. [Ma Ha Ra ] Jha Ga Mi Ni Ti Sa ha de Va Na pi Ya [The Great King Gamini Tisa Devanampiya.Perhaps of King Sadatissa [ Bopeatachchi and Wickremasinghe] . The German excavation team has published many sealing found in the same location as above sealing. The rear of these sealing was affixed on to Ola leaf’s as the outline of the grain of the Ola is still visible.

2. Cave inscriptions In Inscription of Ceylon Volume I – S Paranavitane.

  1. N0 835 :-This is found on Rock Inscriptions of kings identified as King Sada-tissa at Dambulla Inscription.

  2. No 406 :- On Gamini-Tissa and Mijhi- Maharaja at Henannegala.

  3. No 563:On Inscription of Royal Prince and Princess at Kottadamuhela identified with Queen Viharamaha devi. Ms Chandrika Jayasinghe published a coins from the British Museum of a lady Standing on a Boat of the Obverse with a Railed Swastika on the reverse.In our history a lady on a boat can only be connected to Vihare Maha Devi , the mother of our hero King Dutugemunu.

1. No 1018:-1027 – of a Maharaja-Gamani Abayasa– at Gallena Vihare.
A similar coins was found by PE Pieris at Kantarodi in the North of Sri Lanka.
British Museum Coin.
This symbols was good enough for the ancient Maharaja to place next to their rock inscriptions and on their Royal Seals. Henry Parker suggest that the central vertical cross bar represents the royal Standard while the four lateral lines symbolize the four fold army of ancient kings ,ie the Corp of elephants, the Chariots, the Cavalry and the foot soldiers, He admits it is far fetched. From the above data this is quite possible and this had a strong connections with Royalty. This symbol is flanked by either the Standard, the Asana or throne and the Triratna which according to reputed writers had implicitly expressed an regal authority.
3. The Railed swastika is usually found on the most early coins of the Island. It does not appear alone. In good condition coins, two symbols are found on either side. In all the types of coins with the railed swastika, a few examples having the Caitiya or three arched hill appears under it. The associations of these symbols with the railed swastika and their placement around is a special characteristic of the Sri Lanka early coins. The significance of these symbols is quite relevant to Kingship as discussed by TB Karunaratne. This will be dealt with later.
Of the Coins shown above, Dr DPE Hettiarchchi has speculated that the Multi symbol Elephant and Railed Swastika coin is that of Devanampiyatissa. C14 and Thermoluminance dating of layer of undisturbed layer of earth in which this type of coin was found , justify the credence of this statement. It is possible that this king had the Railed Swastika on his coin.

The Standard
In an RAS Journal Mr P Weerasinghe suggest that Mahatissa in the inscription shown above was King Devanpiyatissa. If this is so, then this suggest that in addition to Railed Swastika , the monarch would have palced a personel monogram on thier coins , which was Dhajaya or a Standard which King Asoka used. So perhaps the Railed Swastika was the emblem of of a particular Royal family which ruled during the issue of these coins, perhaps that known as those of the Devanampiya Kula on inscriptions. Could it be that the Kings used the Railed Swastika symbol as the emblem that belonged to the Kula or as family emblem.Did they have their own mongrams in addition to this??. But on coins more than one such symbol is placed around the Railed Swastika.
The Standard suggested as used by Devanampiyatissa on coins is also found on Tree and Railed Swastika Coins, Lion and Railed Swastika Coin.
The Throne or Asana
.Mr MH Sirisoma in Inscriptions Vol II 1990 gave a number of symbols associated with inscriptions of Kings. One of them is of is from Minvila , and is of King Katakanna Tissa[ 41-19 BC].
The symbol on the inscription is simalar to symbols on coins of Sri lanka with the Railed Swastika. This is found on the the King Devanampiyatissa coin on the reverse of the coin shown above to the right of the Railed Swastika. There are various forms of the Asana found on coins . The Asana is a auspicious symbol of India and also of the Sinhalese. These Lucky symbols are used extensively of Sinhalese art and mentioned in our chronicles.those on coins are analysed on Symbols around the Railed Swastika.
The Swastika is found with the Inscriptions of Kings. The Swastika with out the Railing is found on our coins too.
One of the earliest inscriptions that can be historically dated from ancient text is thatof a daughter of the King Uti or Uttiya the brother of king Devanampiyatisa, and reigned after him. The cave donated to the Sanga for the benefit of her parents. This has two symbols , the first is a T on Railing and a Swastika. Therailing is similar o that of the Railed Swastika.
The First Three Lines
A Swastika – “Success| King Abaya the eldest son of King Kuakanna and grandson of great king Tissa, the friend of Gods[ Devanampiya] dedicated the golden Vase channel at Galatataka to the Community of bhikhus in the Payelipavata monastery”.
Last Line
A Swastika- “The great king Naga gave therefore said channel to the Sanga”.
The King Naga is identified as King Mahadathika Mahanaga [9-21 BC].
This king ‘s inscription at At Vehera Minhintale shown below has a Swastika below it.
The First part is of King Batiya Abaya[ 19 BC]. Great-Great-Great grand son of King Sadatissa, whose mother was Queen Vihare Mahadevi.
The second part is of King Mahadathika Mahanaga [ 9 -21 AD]- a brother of King Batiya Abaya.

The Swastika as a minor symbol on coins
This is a round Treein Railing and Railed Swastika Coin. To the right of the Tree is a Swastika symbol.
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.


The Swastika is well known symbol of almost all civilizations of the ancient world. In Sri Lanka it is found on coins, rock inscriptions, and Buddhist art such as the Sacred Foot Prints. As did all other auspicious symbols on the pieces found in Sri Lanka and dated to around the 1 Cent BC.

The Swastika is found by the side of inscription connected to the Royalty of Sri Lanka in the following.The inscriptions were published by Dr Paranavitane and on line on the Royal Asiatic Society web site

1. At Mihintale.Found next to a railing similar to that on the Railed swastika in the Inscription of Maharaja Gamini-Uti,identified as King Uttiya the brother of Devanampiyatisa.
2. Periya -Puliyumkulum Found next to symbols the Triratna and Standard of a Mahatissa who is speculated to be king Devanampiyatissa.
3. Mr MH Sirisoma contends the Swastika was the sign manuals of Kings Bhatiya Abaya [19 BC-9AD] in the Inscription at Molahitiyavelagala and of King Mahadathika Mahanaga[ 9-21AD] at At- Vehera Mihintale in Inscriptions Volume II,1990.
4. The Swastika on top of Mast of a diagram of a ship in an inscription of a trade guild belonging to Devanampiya Kula.
Mr TB Karunaratna published many articles in the RAS Journals on Auspicious symbols of Sri Lanka and is of opinion that the Swastika belongs to the set of eight symbols which depicts the Anavatapta or the Male[ Purusa] principle, which is placed on the Foot print of the Buddha. The symbols found on the ancient coins are the Buddhist Triratna [ also called the Nandapadi,Taurine, vardhamana] , the The Drum shape object perhaps the Asana or Throne, the Elephant Goad,the Fish and the Pot are all found on the Buddha Foot Print.
A rare Swastika is found on an Tree in Enclosure and Railed Swastika Coin and above the Lion in the Lion and railed swastika Coin. A swastika depict the fingers of the left hand on an ancient Copper plaque with Male figure.
The Swastika is found on coin like Lead or copper Objects found in the 1990’s at Akurugoda and a few from Anuradhapura

These symbols are common on ancient Indian coins[ CATALOG OF INDIAN COINS- JOHN ALLEN] and found on the Punch- marked Silver kahapanas that are found in fair quantities in Sri Lanka.

It is on the Lion and railed swastika piece C 14 dated to 1 Cent BC by the German E$xcavation team.
The Swastika appears as one of the auspicious symbol on the Rectangular Bull coins.The symbols are over the Bull
Why was the Swastika placed placed on coins and other pieces of art?

a. The Swastika is considered as a symbol representing the Sun, all Sri Lankan king claim relationship to the Mahasammata Royalty descending from the Sun. Suriya and Sun God representations were found at Anurhadapura and Pollonnaruva.

b. Swastika symbolizing a rotating disc was accepted as a auspicious symbol and is a prestigious symbol on the art of ancient Sri lankans.[ Henry Parker]

c.Chakrayudhaya is said to be the most powerful weapon associated with the Chakravarti [ Sakvithi in sinhalese]the universal king Buddha was compared to a Chakravarti and this symbol may be thus associated with buddhism. Chakraratna and the swastika may be convey the same message.

d. Or was it just a decorating symbol used to cover a vacant area on the coin. [ J Still]?. But with no commandments to adhere too, encouragement to question the teachings of precepts before putting them in to practice , the ad hoc selections of symbols is not likely to be accepted by the ancient people as a mark of royalty approving the circulation of coins.

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