“Islamic Coins” from a Hindu Temple

Reconsidering Ghaznavid Interactions with Hindu Sacred Sites through New Numismatic Evidence from Gandhara

in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
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This paper examines enigmatic, small, Arabic-inscribed copper coins that were minted or circulated in the environs of a Hindu cave temple complex in northern Gandhara. Based on legends and typology, most of these issues can be attributed to the Ghaznavid period. This new numismatic evidence calls into question long-standing narratives of the Ghaznavid invasion of Hindustan, which posit that the Ghaznavids pursued a uniformly iconoclastic policy toward Hindu sacred sites. The evidence also suggests that the Ghaznavids embraced diverse modes of interaction with the Hindustani frontier zones. These went beyond the well documented raiding expeditions to realize short-term financial gains. Rather, the Ghaznavids may also have had long-term economic objectives, which necessitated preserving existing sacred institutions and their administrative and fiscal machinery and patronage networks.

“Islamic Coins” from a Hindu Temple

Reconsidering Ghaznavid Interactions with Hindu Sacred Sites through New Numismatic Evidence from Gandhara

in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

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References

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5

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12

Since 2005the author has conducted detailed on-site interviews with local antiquarians and farmers to determine the general find locations of coins and to ascertain the range of native coin types found in the Kashmir Smast and its environs. See e.g. W. Ziad “Treasures of the Kashmir Smast.” jons 187 (2006): 14-17.

14

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18

See M. MitchinerIndian Tokens: Popular Religious & Secular Art (London: Hawkins1998).

21

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22

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23

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29

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42

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44

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45

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50

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86

A. Patel“Architectural Histories Entwined: The Rudra-Mahalaya/Congregational Mosque of Siddhpur, Gujarat.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 63/2 (2004): 155. The commercial-religious linkages of temple sites in northern Hindustan is attested to by additional epigraphic evidence from the ninth to eleventh centuries which documents the role of merchant classes in financing temple construction and management and in directing civil affairs of temple polities. See A. Malik Merchants and Merchandise in North India AD 600-1000 (New Delhi: Manohar 1998): 132-34.

92

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96

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Figures

  • View in gallery
    2- to 4-Gram “Regular” Silver Coinage of Gandhara and Corresponding 0.5- to 1.1-Gram Copper Units from the Kashmir Smast.

    (images courtesy classical numismatic group, www.cngcoins.com; zeno.ru).

  • View in gallery
    Examples of Shaiva, Vaishnava, Middle Iranian, and Islamic iconography on Kashmir Smast coins.
  • View in gallery
    Yamīn al-Dawla Maḥmūd, Balkh Mint, ae Fals.

    image courtesy ralph cannito

  • View in gallery
    Leaf design on Ghazna mint Gold dinar of Sultan Maḥmūd, 407/1607 Album (zeno.ru)
  • View in gallery
    Anepigraphic Uniface Issues from the Kashmir Smast with Devotional Imagery

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