Author Topic: Emperor Akbar, Square Rupee  (Read 13429 times)

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Offline Overlord

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Emperor Akbar, Square Rupee
« on: March 05, 2008, 06:43:32 PM »
Hi

Here is an Akbar square rupee from my collection. Can someone please translate the inscriptions on this one? I only got as far as identifying it using the 'hockey-stick-like symbol' as a guide  :-[

My rudimentary knowledge of Persian numerals tells me that the date on this one is 996 AH = 1587 AD.

Also, there are little 'holes' on both sides. Were these a result of the minting process?

Obverse


Reverse



« Last Edit: December 07, 2008, 02:54:51 PM by Overlord »

Offline Rangnath

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Re: Emperor Akbar, Square Rupee
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2008, 03:22:21 AM »
Hi Overlord,
Great question! I've been curious about "Shoff" marks on rupees.  I always thought they were part of the minting process, but I'd like an explanation. I'll bet we'll get help on that one.

Your coin made a positive/negative space reversal! That seems to happen sometimes; when the positive and negative space compete.  Could you reduce the size of the coin? Maybe that would help. 
richie

Offline Overlord

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Re: Emperor Akbar, Square Rupee
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2008, 04:54:22 AM »
Your coin made a positive/negative space reversal! That seems to happen sometimes; when the positive and negative space compete.  Could you reduce the size of the coin? Maybe that would help. 
richie

Hi Richie

I know too little about art to fully appreciate what you mean, but I do hope these images are better.

Offline Rangnath

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Re: Emperor Akbar, Square Rupee
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2008, 05:53:51 AM »
Yes, they are lots better!


From a look at Richard Plant's book, your square rupee contains the Kalima on what you have as the reverse.  Probably that should be the Obverse. 
Because Oesho might be out for a while, I'll try:
The Kalima: No God but Allah, Mohammad the messanger of Allah.   
Certainly I can see "Allah" on the first line
and "Mohammad" on the second, the beautiful serpentine shape.

Your obverse, which should be the reverse, says, I think "Jalal ed-din" or Jalaluddin. I don't know if that should be read as a name (Akbar's first name) or as Glory of the Faith. 

I have such a fondness for Akbar.  There are those who might characterize him as a cruel psychopath and others who see him as the greatest and arguably the wisest ruler in the world during the 16th century.  I choose the later. It is a beautiful coin Overlord, from a wonderful period of Indian History.
richie

Offline Overlord

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Re: Emperor Akbar, Square Rupee
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2008, 06:30:56 AM »
The Kalima: No God but Allah, Mohammad the messanger of Allah.   
Certainly I can see "Allah" on the first line
and "Mohammad" on the second, the beautiful serpentine shape.
Thanks Richie. From the translation, it looks like the well-known phrase "La' illaha illa' Allah, Muhammad ar Rasool Allah"

Your obverse, which should be the reverse, says, I think "Jalal ed-din" or Jalaluddin. I don't know if that should be read as a name (Akbar's first name) or as Glory of the Faith. 
richie
I think "Jalaluddin" here would be a part of Akbar's name, "Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar".

Offline Overlord

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Re: Emperor Akbar, Square Rupee
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2008, 11:51:14 AM »
I read a bit on Akbar's coinage and found a few interesting things. Originally, all coins issued by Akbar were round. Square silver and gold coins were issued (along with the round ones) for a short period, between 993 and 998 AH (i.e., regnal years 30 and 35). Almost all coins issued after 998 AH are round.

Variation is also found in the inscriptions on the coins. Till about 1585 AD (reynal year 29), gold and silver coins had Kalima (holy verses) inscribed on the obverse, along with the names of the four caliphs. The emperor's name (Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar Badshah Ghazi) appeared on the reverse (with or without titles), with the pious wish khald allah talah mulk wa saltanat, the mint name, and the Hijri year.

It appears that the Hijri year appeared on the coins in a regular manner till 988 AH, after which Akbar passed an order that the coins should show the era of the millennium. Therefore, the word Alif was inscribed on the subsequent coins to represent 1000. The name of the mint was replaced by urdu zafar quarin (camp associated with victory). All this continued till 1585 AD, after which the Kalima was replaced with the Ilahi creed Allah Akbar Jalla jalalah. Name and titles of the emperor were not used on the subsequent coins, as he probable preferred to remain anonymous (though it may be argued that his name lies in the pun Allah Akbar).

In view of the above, it appears a bit strange to me that a coin minted in 996 AH (1587 AD) (if I read it correctly) should have the Kalima (and the emperor’s name) inscribed on it. If this coin is not a part of the "Ilahi series", the year would most likely have appeared as Alif.

Offline Rangnath

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Re: Emperor Akbar, Square Rupee
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2008, 11:38:55 PM »
From Oesho:

Not all mints followed the general pattern. The above coin is indeed dated
AH996 and was struck at Ahmadabad. I have illustrated below (A) a similar
rupee dated AH995, which shows a better part of the mint name Dar
al-Sultanat Ahmadabad. Square rupees for Ahmadabad are known from 987 to
1001.
Prior to the square issues, round coins with the Kalima on the obverse were
struck. An example of this issue is illustrated as (B).
Akbar introduced his Din-Ilahi creed in his 30th year. Rupees of Ilahi yr.30
are reported for Ahmadabad, but I have not seen them. The earliest Ilahi
issue for Ahmadabad is Yr.38 (C)
The example shown below was struck in the mont Azar (= Sagittarius, the 9th
month of the zodiac)
When the Ilahi faith was introduced the Kalima disappeared from the coins of
most Mints, but not of all. The earliest issue is supposed the square rupee
which on one side have the legend Jal Jalala and on the other Akbar Allah
(D)
This was followed up by the issue adding the Ilahi year (E) to it.
On the next issue also the Ilahi month is added (F) and finally the design
was completed by adding also the mint (C & G)
When the Heijra year 1000 was approaching, the coins where struck with the
mint name Urdu Zafar Qarin (camp associated with victory) and the year Alf
(=1000) (H)
By the end of Akbar reign he started to experiment with the coin design. An
example are the rupee with a flower-like decorated border (I & J)

A) Akbar (AH963-1014/AD1556-1605), sq. rupee, Ahmadabad, Dar al-Sultanat,
obv. Kalima. rev. Name and titles of Akbar, date AH995. Ref.: KM#82.1

B) Akbar, round rupee, obv. Kalima, within square dotted border, rev. name
and titles of Akbar, date AH983. Ref.: KM#80.2

C) Akbar, sq. Ilahi rupee, Ahmadabad, Yr. 38, month: Azar (=Sagittarius),
obv. Jal Jalalahu Akbar Allah, rev. Zarb Ahmadabad 38 Azar Ilahi. Ref.:
KM#88.1

D) Akbar, sq. rupee, obv. Jal Jalala, rev. Akbar Allah. Ref.: KM#-

E) Akbar, sq. rupee, obv. Jal Jalalahu 34 Ilahi, rev. Akbar Allah. Ref.:
KM#91.1

F) Akbar, sq. rupee, obv. Jal Jalalahu Akbar Allah, rev. Azar (=Sagittarius)
35 Ilahi. Ref.: KM#90.1

G) Akbar, round rupee, obv. Jal Jalalahu Akbar Allah, rev. Zarb Ahmadabad
40, Farwardi (=Aries) Ilahi. Ref.: KM#93.2

H) Akbar, sq. Rupee, obv. Kalima, rev. Name and titles of Akbar, date Alf
(=1000), mint Urdu Zafar Qarin (Camp associated with Victory). Ref.: KM#82.8

I) Akbar, round rupee with decorated borders, obv. Jal Jalalahu Akbar Allah,
rev. Zarb Ahmadabad 47, Mihr (=Libra) Ilahi. Ref.: KM#94.2

J) Akbar, round rupee with decorated borders, obv. Jal Jalalahu Akbar Allah,
rev. Zarb Agrah 50, Shahrewar (=Virgo) Ilahi. Ref.: KM#95.1


Offline Rangnath

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Re: Emperor Akbar, Square Rupee
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2008, 11:40:03 PM »
Continued from Oesho:

Offline Rangnath

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Re: Emperor Akbar, Square Rupee
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2008, 11:53:15 PM »
Oesho,
Again, superlatives are in order.  A round of beers for all (or mango lassi, if that be your preference)!
I specially like (love, adore, cherish?) the designs of the last two rupees.
The quality of the calligraphy and the intentional design of the ten coins is superior when compared with the coinage of the sultanates that preceded Akbar.  It seems richer, more majestic and finer in execution. Why? 

I understand that Akbar's court attracted artistic talent.  Did Akbar look upon his coins as a reflection of his person or his empire?  Would he have taken a personal interest in the designs of his coinage as he did with architecture?
richie

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Emperor Akbar, Square Rupee
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2008, 01:12:49 PM »
Fantastic. These are museum quality pieces. And such great photography.

I suspect that, as in Europe, coinage design was a highly political affair, mixed with generous amounts of tradition and the interest of the ruler was easily awoken, be it not in questions of art but in questions of weight, content, titles, heraldry, claims etc, to which in the case of the Moguls we can probably add religion.

One case of royal involvement is the contest between the Roetiers and Thomas Simon, which was decided by James II.

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

Offline Overlord

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Re: Emperor Akbar, Square Rupee
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2008, 06:59:42 PM »
 :o :o :o :o :o
Beyond words!

Now only the question of the little 'holes' (or the "Shoff" marks), observed on both side of the coin, remains. Were these a result of the minting process?

Offline Oesho

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Re: Emperor Akbar, Square Rupee
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2008, 11:37:01 PM »
The shroff marks are as word already says: tests marks made by shroffs or moneychangers / bankers. Coins in circulation were regularly punched with a kind of awl to see whether there might be a core of copper, or another base metal, inside.
Besides counterfeit coins with a core of copper,  coins were also counterfeited of lead tin and even debased silver and provided with a thick silver coating of  high fineness. After the coins were punched or a hole drilled in it, a drop of acid was put in it to see whether the coin (and also the core of it) was of good silver.

Offline Rangnath

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Re: Emperor Akbar, Square Rupee
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2008, 11:43:19 PM »
I tried to find the answer to what a shroff mark was on-line and could not. 
Thanks so much! Now I know.
richie

Offline sekharkausik

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Re: Emperor Akbar, Square Rupee
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2010, 10:49:10 AM »
REALLY BEAUTIFUL COINS.  THE DESIGN ON THE COINS,  WHOLE FLAN  WITH  COMPLeTE MINT NAMES IS A FEAST TO THE EYES. REALLY MUSUEM PIECES.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Emperor Akbar, Square Rupee
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2010, 11:46:56 AM »
Agreed, sekharkausik and welcome to the forum!

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