Jump to content

Kandy Kings of Ceylon (Sri-Lanka) 'Octopus Man'


Topcat7
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have a couple of these coins and I would like to know a bit more about them because what I am finding out confuses me. The Kingdom of Kandy is reputed to have existed from the 15th Century to the (early) 19th Century, but my coins have been dated from the 10th Century (985) to the 13th Century (1293).  While I can find an image of (similar to) my first coin, I cannot find an image of (similar to) my second coin. These coins are (colloq.) referred to as 'Octopus Man' coins (for obvious reasons). Any information (at all) would help, please?

My first coin: Bronze AE20.3mm., and 4.15gm. - 1055-1295 Bhuddist Coin, Kandy Kings.

Magical Snap - 2022.07.13 19.47 - 049a.jpg

Magical_Snap_-_2022.07.13_14.48_-_041-removebg-previewa.jpg

 

My second coin: 17mm., and 4.5gm. - 985-1014 Chola Empire, Chanragupta II - Drachm

Magical_Snap_-_2022.07.13_14.53_-_042-removebg-previewa.jpg

Magical Snap - 2022.07.14 06.27 - 003a.jpg

Magical_Snap_-_2022.07.14_06.20_-_002-removebg-previewa.jpg

Magical_Snap_-_2022.07.14_06.18_-_001-removebg-previewa.jpg

Edited by Topcat7
  • Like 12
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your 1st coin is Queen Lilavati.normal_Queen_Lilavati.jpg.eb5143d1c1a989870ba92bcf27340216.jpg

Queen Lilavati AD 1127-1200 / 1209-1210 / 1211-1212

Seated Queen, SRI RA JA LI LA VA TI in Brahmi in two vertical lines in the left field / Queen standing, small altar in the left field, various dots and decorations in fields. Mitchiner NIS 837-839.

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your 2nd coin is Rajaraja.

normal_raja.jpg.4c6403e171bc04083c23825c3dee7fa9.jpg

Rajaraja AD 985-1014

Seated king, SRI RAJA RAJA in Brahmi in two vertical lines in the left field / King standing, small altar in the left field, various dots and decorations in fields.

Your reverse needs to be orientated 90 degrees clockwise.

Here's  my collection  which hopefully will help you and others attribute the different rulers.

20180713_octopus-set-new.jpg.291f43395d6cc5560c7c7b42e4ac0593.jpg

Edited by Spaniard
  • Like 11
  • Heart Eyes 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

@Spaniard Thank you, so much. Your information has been of immense help to me.

So these coins are from BEFORE the Kandy Empire or can they be rightfully called 'Kandy' coins?

(Also, on your first response you show Queen Lilavati's first reign as 1127-1200. I am presuming that to be a 'typo' and it should read '1197'?)

Edited by Topcat7
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am not sure why these are called "Kandy Kings".  The Zeno category is Sri Lanka » Native coinage » Medieval period, 600 - 1500 AD » Polonnaruva period from 11th to 13th century AD.

w334.jpg.26325562c4205e51d4792461d43f071a.jpg

Sri Lanka, Polonnaruva, Sahasa Malla, 1200-2 AD, AE20, 4.17g
Obv: 𑀰𑀺𑆩 𑆯𑆲𑆱 𑆩𑆬 (=ShRIMa-SAHaSa MaLa or Srima Sahasa Malla) in Nāgarī in four lines in the left field; Seated king
Rev: King standing, small altar in the left field, various dots and decorations in fields. AKA 'Octopus Man'

Most numismatic references call the script Brahmi, but it is actually Nāgarī. (Richard Plant got it right.) The closest script in Unicode is Nandinagari, but I don't have a font for that. I am using a combination of the predecessor, Brahmi script, and a successor, Sharada script.

  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In pre Internet days  you used to be able to purchase these  what I would call exotic coins for a couple of dollars .Most of the time they were not attributed to a specific ruler or date range. My go to reference was "Price Catalogue of Ancient Coins Of Ceylon by T.M. De Silva Abeywardene published in 1952 41pages, 10plates. The Plates are crude compared to the beautiful photos of the above posters. Prices were outdated. This small paperback has its own charm and served me well as I collected these interesting coins. Kandy got it's name from the anglicized version of Sinhala Kanda Uda Rata (meaning the land on the mountain )or Kanda Uda Pas Rata( The five countries on the mountain).

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Ed Snible said:

I am not sure why these are called "Kandy Kings".  The Zeno category is Sri Lanka » Native coinage » Medieval period, 600 - 1500 AD » Polonnaruva period from 11th to 13th century AD.

w334.jpg.26325562c4205e51d4792461d43f071a.jpg

Sri Lanka, Polonnaruva, Sahasa Malla, 1200-2 AD, AE20, 4.17g
Obv: 𑀰𑀺𑆩 𑆯𑆲𑆱 𑆩𑆬 (=ShRIMa-SAHaSa MaLa or Srima Sahasa Malla) in Nāgarī in four lines in the left field; Seated king
Rev: King standing, small altar in the left field, various dots and decorations in fields. AKA 'Octopus Man'

Most numismatic references call the script Brahmi, but it is actually Nāgarī. (Richard Plant got it right.) The closest script in Unicode is Nandinagari, but I don't have a font for that. I am using a combination of the predecessor, Brahmi script, and a successor, Sharada script.

See the google fonts for Nandinagari among other fonts. https://github.com/notofonts/nandinagari...

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is one that is rarely encountered...

 

Arya Chakravartis of Jaffna: Anonymous (ca. 1284-1410) Æ Massa (MNSI-862)

Obv: Seated king on left facing right with Tamil legend சேது(SETU) vertically below his arm.
Rev: Standing king with crown consisting two lines and a dot, trident on left under raised right arm. A bull couchant vertically with a circle before it. All in bead circle. group of spheres on right, surmounted by crescent.

spacer.png

 

 

Edited by quant.geek
  • Like 6
  • Mind blown 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, Topcat7 said:

Also, on your first response you show Queen Lilavati's first reign as 1127-1200. I am presuming that to be a 'typo' and it should read '1197'

Yes, sorry 1197 it is...

@quant.geek...Wow!...That is a wonderful example of a very difficult type to acquire..Thanks for posting.

@Ed Snible

Interestingly ....

Codrington references 4 different legend variants of this coin..Sahasa Malla..

here's two showing the legend variants..

20180722_CEYLON-VARIANT-WITH-TEXT-ccfopt.jpg.0048578d33c0c0a659fb9cd3a40eda75.jpg

Edited by Spaniard
  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/14/2022 at 7:13 AM, Spaniard said:

Here's  my collection  which hopefully will help you and others attribute the different rulers.

20180713_octopus-set-new.jpg.291f43395d6cc5560c7c7b42e4ac0593.jpg

From this information I have determined that another of these coins that I have is Sahasa Malla A.D.1200-1202.

Is it possible that you could describe the legend on this coin for me (as well), please?

Thanking you in anticipation.

Magical Snap - 2022.07.15 17.05 - 015.jpg

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Topcat7......I'll help as much as I can...

Yep good, your coin is Sahasa Malla.

Here's a breakdown of legend...

194475451_ceylonid3.jpg.8723690836d4a5689ccd6ab5560d2a95.jpg

Give me 10 and I'll add some more details and links that will help...

"Great having an infinite edit option"

Edited by Spaniard
  • Like 3
  • Clap 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

These are interesting coins @Topcat7

image.png.effd8fb79cf547b62bc2b32b5d2219a7.png

Sri Lanka (Ceylon) Native coinage, Sahassa Malla, AD 1200-1202

Obv: Sahassa Malla (or the god Rama) standing front, head to right, smelling on a lotus flower held in his left hand; in field to right, five pellets above lotus flower; in field to left, altar.

Rev: SRIMA SAHASA MALLA (in Brahmi) Hanuman leaping across the straits to Sri Lanka to rescue Sita or Sahassa Malla seated front, head to right, holding uncertain object in his left hand.

Note: my favorite quick reference resource (after @Spaniard) for these coins is here

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Sulla80 said:

These are interesting coins @Topcat7

image.png.effd8fb79cf547b62bc2b32b5d2219a7.png

Sri Lanka (Ceylon) Native coinage, Sahassa Malla, AD 1200-1202

Obv: Sahassa Malla (or the god Rama) standing front, head to right, smelling on a lotus flower held in his left hand; in field to right, five pellets above lotus flower; in field to left, altar.

Rev: SRIMA SAHASA MALLA (in Brahmi) Hanuman leaping across the straits to Sri Lanka to rescue Sita or Sahassa Malla seated front, head to right, holding uncertain object in his left hand.

Note: my favorite quick reference resource (after @Spaniard) for these coins is here

Some very good information here. Thank you.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Sulla80 said:

Note: my favorite quick reference resource (after @Spaniard) for these coins is here

Ok.......But at the moment out with friends 38 degrees looking out over the Med........Nice wine and tapa....Will call back in tomorrow'ish...🤪

btw @Sulla80....Very nice looking coin!....If you don't mind I'll use it as an example tomorrow to breakdown the details of ob and rev?

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Spaniard said:

Ok.......But at the moment out with friends 38 degrees looking out over the Med........Nice wine and tapa....Will call back in tomorrow'ish...🤪

btw @Sulla80....Very nice looking coin!....If you don't mind I'll use it as an example tomorrow to breakdown the details of ob and rev?

 

Sounds pretty nice, I certainly don't mind if you use my coin to illustrate - I do mind that I am not sitting eating tapas, drinking wine and looking out over the Mediterranean 😉

Polonnaruwa Ceylon Chola.jpg

  • Like 6
  • Smile 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few more that are rarely seen:

 

Ceylon: Nissanaka Malla (1187-1196) AE Massa (Mitchiner 835, Codrington 78)

spacer.png

 

Ceylon: Codaganga (1196-1197) AE Massa (Codrington 79)

spacer.png

 

Ceylon: Parakrama Bahu VI (1415-1468) AE Massa (Mitchiner 853, Codrington 97)

spacer.png

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/14/2022 at 2:47 PM, quant.geek said:

Here is one that is rarely encountered...

 

Arya Chakravartis of Jaffna: Anonymous (ca. 1284-1410) Æ Massa (MNSI-862)

Obv: Seated king on left facing right with Tamil legend சேது(SETU) vertically below his arm.
Rev: Standing king with crown consisting two lines and a dot, trident on left under raised right arm. A bull couchant vertically with a circle before it. All in bead circle. group of spheres on right, surmounted by crescent.

spacer.png

 

 

Wow, this one is definitely cool. I've never seen one with one with this sideways recumbent bull like this! Small but deliberate design choices like this are my favorite.

image.png.ef170af49c282a4b4cef8a6c6d4412de.png

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/16/2022 at 7:49 PM, TuckHard said:

Wow, this one is definitely cool. I've never seen one with one with this sideways recumbent bull like this! Small but deliberate design choices like this are my favorite.

image.png.ef170af49c282a4b4cef8a6c6d4412de.png

Yeah..It came in a group lot with a Raja Raja Chola fish-emblem coin (see below), two Ptolemaic coppers, and a few medieval and modern European coins that was greatly underappreciated by bidders on Ebay a few years ago.  I was so ecstatic when I won the lot!

 

Imperial Chola: Raja Raja I (ca. 1007) AE Kasu (Biddulph-21)

Obv: King half seated, with raised arm on right; Devanagari legend beneath raised arm; श्री राजा राजा (Sri Raja Raja)
Rev: Standing man, with lamp on left and fish on right, representing the Pandyan conquest

spacer.png

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...