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Larins, Persian and others

Started by asm, August 17, 2009, 11:54:29 AM

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I am not sure if the picture of the coin below is properly adjusted. I am unable to make anything of the inscription. Please help attribute.
"It Is Better To Light A Candle Than To Curse The Darkness"


Dear Amit, The legend is very difficult to read on most larins. This one seems to be a Persian larin. The metal is better as that of the Bijapur larins and the silver wire is slightly thinner. The stamp on them has a finer calligraphy.


I've been intrigued by larins. I don't think that we've seen anything similar to this since the Taxilla bent bars. Usually, form follows function.  What advantage did this shape serve? Was it a Persian innovation or was it based on the coinage of another place and/or time? I assume that Bijapur  imported the idea but I guess they could have been the initiators. 


Quote from: Rangnath on August 18, 2009, 06:09:06 AM
Usually, form follows function.  What advantage did this shape serve?
Here is a theory :D


Thanks Overlord.  That was fun. 
Though the expression "they were minted in the early centuries" is a little too vague for my tastes!

Chop sticks?  Flat bottom oars, tongue depressors, shoe horns, soup ladles, ear wax removers, leather polishers, kite spool axels, hood ornaments, darts for a bad day at the pub when nothing sticks..  all completely plausible.

But chop sticks?
And then I remembered chop stick rests.

On a more serious note, is there any way to further attibute this larin?


They may just be far descendents of medieval silver bars. The upper picture shows some silver bars from Wales. The lower picture shows bars from Nishi-Novgorod. These are the most interesting for this discussion, because South Russia was economically dependant on the Byzantine empire in the middle ages. Byzantium also produced silver bars and these must have been known to the Arabs. The Russian kept using bars until the 17th century. Complete bars were known as ruble, from "rubit", to chop. A chopped part was known as a portion or "kopek".

As the pictures show, the bars were stamped with a mark of quality and to obtain "small change", a bar could be chopped up. In fact, some bars have marks to show where to chop it (the longest Russian bar has one in the middle). Now if you clean your nails with a battle ax and cut your bread with a broadsword, chopping silver is not a problem. In more refined company, you wish the bars would be a bit thinner. The solution would of course be to make thin bars and bind them in bundles, as the British museum page Overlord found says.

That same British Museum page reports that the larin became "a popular coin for international trade". This is significant, because the silver bars I am showing were also means of payment for international trade.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.


Thanks Peter. The international connection possibilities are fascinating! As for the ruble and the kopek, I hope you're not pulling my leg, because I now believe it to be true.

BC Numismatics

  The Larin was in circulation in both South India & the Maldive Islands.

The Maldivian Larin is more well-known,as that is where the name 'Laari' comes from.

The Rufiyaa is derived from the Rupee,albeit,through the Portuguese 'Rupia'.



Thanks for the information Aidan.
From looking at Overlord's links, I would be more inclined to think that the name "Larin" derived from a place on the Persian Gulf. The town of Lar. 
What do you think?


Yes! Larin derives from that persian town. Larins of Ceylon and the Maldives are bent like a fish hook. The not-bent pieces are mostly from Bijapur. The older ones with better silver and finer script come - as told by oesho - mostly from Persia. There are pieces from Saudi-Arabia, too. They have a very poor script.


Yes, the larins of Ceylon are fishhook-shaped (Sinhalese: koku ridi = hook silver), however I have never read that the Maldive larins are of the same shape. In my opinion they are also of "hair pin" shape.


Hope that´s correctly that i post my Larin in this Topic,
i think this is an Saudi-Arabia Larin,
maybe someone can read the inscription,

The third side of a medal rests in the eye of the beholder


I think this one is from Bijapur and should be moved to Indian subcontinent!


Thanks Afrasi.
You may well be correct.  Until someone offers a definitive attribtuion, with all due respect, I'll continue to post this subject here. 
What do you think of the three reasons Oesho included that point in the direction away from Bijapur?