Bull & Horseman Jitals of Nandana mint; An overview.

Started by THCoins, May 16, 2015, 01:55:43 PM

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Recently i posted that i had found some scarcer Bull and Horseman Jitals. Today i received them in the mail. As the other thread has become more of a conversation thread i thought i would open a new thread more aimed at use as a future reference.

A very distinctive type of Bull and horseman Jitals has been traditionally attributed to Nandana mint. This is located north of Sindh, in the saltplanes between the Indus river tributuaries. Whether this geographic attribution is historically correct is not sure. But likely these coins were minted somewhere in this region. For convenience it is as good as any to name them Nandana type Jitals.  The Nandana region was between the powerbases of Afghanistan, Sindh, and Delhi at the time and switched hands multiple times. An origin of these coins from this region seems the best explanation for the very similar issues of different rulers.

These Jitals mainly stand out because of the abstracted design of the bull. This has a small more or less trangular head and a snout which makes it look like a mosquito. The typical Nandana type jital is that of Khwarezmshah Mangubarni.
Mangubarni was driven from Afghanistan by the advance of the Mongols. He established a powerbase in Northern Sind by defeating Ghorid ruler Nasir-Ud-Din Qubacha. Subsequently, the defeated ruler had to pay a huge amount of tribute to Mangubarnis troops. However, faced by enemies from different directions Mangubarni finally migrated West with his armies around 1224 AD.

The first coin shows the typical Nandana style Mangubarni Jital, 15 mm, Tye#318.1, G&G SS7. The legend is written in rather coarse italic Nagari characters.
The second with legend overlay is a slightly different type (which may have been minted elsewhere), Tye#318.4. However, this showed a larger part of the typical legend present on the flan.


It is thought that when Khwarezmshah Mangubarni travelled West in 1224AD he left two of his generals in charge of the region.
The area West of the Indus (with Kurraman and Peshawar) was controlled by governor Wafa Malik. He would later extend his territory and become an independent ruler better known as Saif-al-din al-Hasan Qarlugh.
The governor of the area east of the Indus, including Nandana, is known from his scarce coinage as "Sharaf Beg" or "Khalif Beg". I would read it as "ShaLiPha BaGa". Recent literature suggests that this "Sharaf Beg" could have been Özbeg Bei bin Muhammad Jahan Pahlawan. This Ozbeg Bei was a ruler from Azerbaijan, with Tabriz as capital (now in Iran). The Azerbaijan area was overrun by both the Kwarezmshah forces of Mangubarni and the Mongol army. In the process he became a vassal of Mangubarni and was forced to leave the Tabriz area. Around 1229AD this governor lost control of Nandana and followed Mangubarni westward.

The Jitals issued under Sharaf Beg seem not to have been studied in detail. If one can read the legend they are not that difficult to recognize. A potential pittfall in attributing these coins is the "La" character in front of the head of the bull. Many people select specimen based on the presence of the head of the bull and horse on flan. The easily recognizable "La" may lead people to believe that they have a Jitall issued under Mangubarni. However, the same character is present at this location in the Nandana type jitals of Mangubarni, Sharaf Beg, and Iltutmish. So one has to look at different part of the legend for a reliable attribution ! The first coin supports the assumption that the horseman side has the familiar "Sri Hamirah" as legend.
Apart from the legend, there are also small differences in the design. For example the continuous line that ascends from the trunk of the horseman to the front of his head. In the Mangubarni Jitals these are clearly two separate lines.

All three Tye#322, G&G SS8 (RR) 15 mm. First coin: 3.4 gr. Second: 3.47 gr. Last: 3.2 gr. with overlay of the legend.


After 1224AD, Delhi ruler Iltutmish expanded his power westwards. Around 1229AD Delhi forces fell upon Özbeg Bei and overtook Nandana. It is likely that the typical Nandana style Jitals in the name of Iltutmish were struck between this date and the death of Iltutmish in 1236AD.
Again this type is rare, although the Goron &Goenka catalog describe them as merely scarce.

Shown are 2 specimen of the Iltutmish Nandana type, Tye#385, G&G D46, 15 mm, 2.91/2.28 grams.


After the death of Iltutmish, Quarlughid leader Saif-ud-din Hasan took his chances to expand his power in the region.
The Nandana style bull and horseman jitals issued under this ruler are stylistically the least refined of the series. Also these are usually found in billon with a likely very low silver content.

Both Tye#346, G&G SS13, legend "Sri HaSaNa KuRaLaKa"





Another Jital of Iltutmish from Nandana Mint.


The Iltutmish specimen is a very nice addition. For these it is in a very nice state also. I still have only encountered a handfull of these.