One of several kingdoms that historically dominated the Indian subcontinent was the Cholas. The history of the Chola Empire can be traced back before the 4th century B.C. They prospered most notably during their "Golden Age" (mid10th through 11th centuries A.D.) when the powerful Tamil rulers of the Chola Dynasty dominated the entire south of India. Ceylon was also held by the Cholas during most of the eleventh century, during which time this copper coin was issued.
Very little information about these coins has survived the passage of time. We know that this coin, used in exchanges with sea traders from Arabia, Persia, China and Burma, was found far beyond south Indian and Ceylon shores. The entrepreneurial Cholas encouraged trading a wide variety of common goods by issuing lower denomination copper coins based on a rice standard rather than the gold standard used for larger transactions. These now rare coins are unusual for their time in history, and for their exceptional artistry and high relief. This coin is part of a hoard of coins that were discovered in an amazingly fine state of preservation. The coin features a standing figure, the king who issued the coin. He is holding a lotus flower in upraised left arm with four or five flattened pellets below the elbow. Under the hanging right arm is a weapon or scepter. The king's drapery, legs and another line between them are represented by five straight lines.
On the reverse, a similar figure is seated with a legend (commonly Raja Raja) or other symbols under the left arm. The right arm is hanging down over the knees, fingers extended.
This coin is a genuine antiquity minted during the dynasty of the Chola monarchs in southern India and Ceylon. Bronze coins of this type were struck during the Cholas’ "Golden Age" during the mid-10th through 11th centuries A.D. Unlike the experiences of previous cultures, these coins were popular for smaller transactions among the Cholas and neighboring civilizations even though they lacked a gold or silver content.
DATA: Weight: 3.5 - 4.5 grams Diameter: 15 - 19mm
Album open measures: 10 13/16” x 7 6/16” Album folded measures: 5 6/16” x 7 6/16”
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