Author Topic: Mauryan Empire: "Deity" type punch marked Karshapana  (Read 2678 times)

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Offline mitresh

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Mauryan Empire: "Deity" type punch marked Karshapana
« on: May 11, 2013, 09:10:48 AM »
Ancient India, Mauryan Empire, Silver Karshapana, 300 BC, 3-deity type


Unusual to find human figures on Karshapana coins. The three standing figures are usually considered as deities. This coin type always occur with 3 or 4 symbols on the Obverse, one of which is a peacock standing on a hill, with the same symbol also punched on the Reverse.

The central deity is shown prominently and slightly elevated with her left hand on hip and head turned to the right. The other two deities or followers hands hang straight from their body with their heads turned looking towards the central deity.

An interesting coin type in circular and rectangular shape!
« Last Edit: October 07, 2013, 10:43:02 AM by mitresh »
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Offline THCoins

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Re: Mauryan Empire: "Deity" type punch marked Karshapana
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2013, 05:03:32 PM »
You have picked up some very interesting coins there. Never saw these depictions before. Thanks for showing !

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Mauryan Empire: "Deity" type punch marked Karshapana
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2013, 12:20:44 AM »
Very much agreed. Highly interesting type. Go, Mitresh!

I wonder if the three deities would represent the familiar creation-maintenance-destruction trio.

Peter
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Offline Manzikert

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Re: Mauryan Empire: "Deity" type punch marked Karshapana
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2013, 02:21:29 AM »
Hi mitresh

There are several varieties of these. Your circular one is Gupta & Hardaker 590 with the third mark (lines, square and circle) that way round, rated by them as rare: with the symbol in mirror image it is G&H 591, rated very common (which is what I think mine is).

Your rectangular one is G&H 589 with the 'triple knot' (whatever it is) on both sides and a complicated symbol composed of an animal, a turtle and several taurine symbols, rated as common.

There is also the G&H 584-7 variety where the deities are in three separate punches with differing 4th and 5th marks. Mine are both G&H 586, rated as 'normal' rarity, whilst the other three varieties vary from 'rare' to 'extremely rare'!

I think the punchmarked coins are fascinating and I've accumulated about 50 over the years, from bent bars to the tiny rattis. one of the frustrating aspects of them is the variation in dating of the series from different authors: G&H date this series as late as c.210-190 BC.

Alan

Offline mitresh

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Re: Mauryan Empire: "Deity" type punch marked Karshapana
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2013, 07:48:53 AM »
Hey Alan, your coins are very nice too. Thanks for showing them and for the fantastic background write up that I was unaware of.  I need to really get the Gupta Hardaker book.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2013, 10:08:14 AM by mitresh »
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Offline mitresh

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Re: Mauryan Empire: "Deity" type punch marked Karshapana
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2013, 10:12:59 AM »
Peter - As pointed by you, I'm inclined to think the three deities may represent the consorts Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati associated respectively with Brahma (creator), Vishnu (preserver) and Shiva (destroyer).
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Offline Pellinore

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Re: Mauryan Empire: "Deity" type punch marked Karshapana
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2015, 11:06:33 AM »
My coin was described as Gupta-Hardaker #585, but I don't have the book.
It weighs 3,49 gr, and the measures are 13 x 9 x 3 mm.
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Offline RG

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Re: Mauryan Empire: "Deity" type punch marked Karshapana
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2019, 07:14:40 PM »
From my collection with clear punches..

Offline mitresh

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Re: Mauryan Empire: "Deity" type punch marked Karshapana
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2019, 05:47:58 AM »
Lovely specimen Ramesh
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Offline RG

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Re: Mauryan Empire: "Deity" type punch marked Karshapana
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2019, 09:51:45 AM »
Thanks a lot Sir. 
I observe both sides of my coin has arched hill with bird/peacock above. Seems curious to me how often do we find like that. 

Offline EWC

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Re: Mauryan Empire: "Deity" type punch marked Karshapana
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2019, 10:01:40 AM »
one of the frustrating aspects of them is the variation in dating of the series from different authors:

Hello Alan

Frustrating is the right word

I recall we discussed a paper by Errington when it appeared in NC - at a “Bradford” coin fair one time.  At the time I was trying to put over the radical suggestion to you that just because she has a post at the BM – it does not mean she is right (or sometimes, even within shouting distance of being right). 

Sadly, I discovered Hardaker suffering from exactly the same problem in the 2014 version of GH (written after G’s death)

I think the coins Mitresh draws attention to are put in their proper context here:

Late Indian Punchmarked Coins in the Mir Zakah II Hoard | Robert Tye -

If so they are the penultimate issues appearing at only some of the (old) Mauryan mints.  I say “old” because they seem to come near the very end of series, and the two marks most associated with the Mauryan Empire have gone.  The “Three men” symbol replaces the Sun and 6-arm symbol.

The simplest explanation of this is the mints involved have been captured intact by forces in rebellion against the empire, and briefly continued in production but now under rebel control.

If that is the case it raises the probability that the three men represent the rebel forces, and thus the possibility that they depict not gods at all, but rather, perhaps, three general or politicians who combined their forces to bring down Mauryan rule.

That is going way out on a limb of course – but it has at least some evidential base….

Rob T