Numismatic Art of India: Historical and Aesthetic Perspectives and An Album of the Masterpieces of Indian Coins) - Two Volume Set

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Item Code: IDK096
Publisher: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Author: B.N. Mukherjee
Edition: 2007
ISBN: 8121511895
Pages: 582 (Illustrated Throughout In B/W & Colour)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 11.3" X 8.6"
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Book Description
Preface of Vol 1

The present volume constitutes the main part of the Academic Report, embodying the results of the work on the project "Numismatic Art of India: Documentation of Materials". The work was carried out under the supervision of the undersigned and under the enlightened patronage of Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan. The undersigned is obliged to her

Late Dr. R.C. Sharma, the Honorary Consultant to the project and the former Director of the Bharat Bhavan (Varanasi), late Shri M.C. Joshi, the them Member Secretary of the Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts and Pandit S. Mukhopadhyay, the former Co-ordinator of the Kalakosa Division of the same organization, have favoured the undersigned with many pieces of valuable advice. He is grateful to the these scholars.

The objectives of the project were inter alia to enquire (a) into the feasibility of accepting the coins of ancient and mediaeval India as an independent medium of art, and (b) to look into their relationship with sculptural art (as also other media of fine arts). The utility of coins as a source of our knowledge about the development of iconic types was also a subject of our study.

Indian coins from the period of their origin to AD 1835 were under the purview of the project. The Act XVII of 1835, promulgated by the administration of the East India Company, ushered in a new era in Indian coinage. (In this connection see B.N. Mukherjee, Indian Gold – An Introduction to the Cabinet of Gold Coins in the Indian Museum, Calcutta, 1990, p. 30.) The modern age in Indian Coinage commenced in about that year.

The undersigned and his research assistants (Dr. Ranjana Mukherjee, Dr. Sabita Sharma, Dr. Rita Sharma, Dr. S. Suresh, Smt. Sunita Gupta, Shri Partha Bose and Smt. Mala Bose) examined about three lacs of coins in important collections in India and finally chose 1493 coins for documentation. The knowledge gathered from the work of documentation and also information, published and also unpublished, about the relevant coins in major non-Indian collections (like the British Museum London, Bibliotheque National, Paris, etc.) was analysed by the undersigned. He also studied the relevant published literature. The results of this intellectual exercise are embodied in the present volume. Hence, it is not merely an academic report on the work of a project concerning numismatic art. It is an independent treatise on the numismatic art of India (upto c. AD 1835). In fact, it is the first ever full-length study of art in the coinages of early and mediaeval India.

It is interesting to note that of about three lacs of ancient, mediaeval and early modern coins examined initially, only about fifteen hundred pieces (including some of little artistic merit or of the post 1835 period) were finally documented. This fact indicates that, due to various constraints (explained in the present treatise), on an average not even one percent of the coins minted in ancient and mediaeval India an can be considered as objects of art. Nevertheless, numerous issues of certain series are superb specimens of miniature art of ancient and mediaeval India.

The treatise is divided into ten chapters and three appendices. While all the chapters have been written by undersigned, he has edited and revised the appendices contributed by Dr. Sabita Sharma (Appendix I) and Dr. S. Suresh (Appendix II) and rearranged the last appendix (III), prepared by Mr. Danish Moin. The first two writers were also connected with the work of documentation relating to the project.

References in the text to the documented coins are furnished according to their individual numbers in two series of documentation. These are General Series of documented coins {G,+SI. No.} and the series of coins illustrated in the second volume containing the Album of Coins {A + SI. No.}. The eight volumes of the Report on the Numismatic Art of India: Documentation of Materials, submitted in 1999, will now be published in two phases. The Academic Report (originally Volume V) and the Album of Masterpieces of Indian Coins (originally Volumes VI-VIII) are being issued as Vol. I and II respectively in the first phase. It is envisaged to publish the Documentation of Materials (originally volumes I-III) as well as Concordance and Inventory of Coins (originally Volume IV) in the second phase. The two volumes, now called I and II, are being brought out in the first phase, because these are expected to be not only of academic but also of immediate public interest.

I am grateful to Dr. K.K. Chakravarty, the present Member Secretary of the IGNCA, Prof. G.C. Tripathi, the present Head of its Kalakosa Division, Dr, V.S. Shukla and Dr. Radha Banerjee Sarkar, Senior Research officers of the same Division, for arranging the publication.

The type-script for the press copy was prepared by Md. Giasuddin Mallik, Whereas the layout and CRC of the present volume have been done by Shri Arun Kumar Kandar. He has also arranged and drawn the symbols for the plates. The proof has been checked by Shri Pitambar Barik at my end and later by Prof. G.C. Tripathi and Dr. Radha Banerjee-Sarkar in New Delhi while the work was in press I am grateful for their assistance.

From the Jacket of vol.1

The present treatise is the first of the four volumes of publication entitled Numismatic Art of India: Documentation of Materials. Volume I deals with the numismatic art of India up to c.AD 1835. The modern age in Indian coinage commenced in about that year.

The present treatise is divided into ten chapters and three appendices. While all the chapters are written by Prof. B.N. Mukherjee, appendices I, II and III are written respectively by Dr, Sabita Sharma, Dr. S. Suresh and Dr. Danish Moin, and revised (in case of I and II) of rearranged (in case of III) by Prof. B.N. Mukherjee.

There are (a) List of Abbreviations and (b) Select Bibliography. Numerous plates at the end illustrate several of the points discussed in the preceding pages.

This volume contains comprehensive history of art in Indian coins during the early and mediaeval periods. It embodies the first ever attempt in this directions.

It is expected that the present treatise will be well received by the academic world.

About the Author

B.N. Mukherjee, formerly the Carmichael Professor of Ancient Indian History and Culture, University of Calcutta, and also an ex-National Fellow in History (I.C.H.R.), is an internationally acclaimed authority on early Indian and Central Asian history and culture. He is connected with several academic bodies and has held responsible positions. He has published fifty-one books and contributed more than 750 articles in different learned journals in India and abroad In 1983 he made a major breakthrough in palaeographical research by successfully deciphering the so-called Shell script of ancient India. In 1989 he discovered a new variety of the Kharosti script (Eastern Kharosti) and also an early script consisting of Kharosti and Brahmi Letters, probably called in the Lalitavistara as Vimisrita-lipi (Mixed script). In 1992 he was honoured with the award of Padmashri by the Government of India in recognition of his outstanding expertise in numismatics. The Rabindra Bharati University (Calcutta, i.e., Kolkata) conferred on him Honorary D. Litt. Degree in 2001. An Honorary Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (London), an Honorary Life Member of the Hellenic Numismatic Society (Athens), an Honorary Fellow of Asiatic Society (Kolkata), and an Honorary Fellow of the International Centre for the Study of Bengal Art (Dhaka). Prof. Mukherjee has been honoured in India and abroad. He has been awarded medals by different academic bodies in recognition of his outstanding contributions to Oriental studies. He has traveled widely, delivering lectures and presiding over numerous seminars and conferences. He was the General President of the Sixty-first session of the Indian History Congress (2000-2001) and the eighth session of the All India Art History Congress (2003).


Preface vii
Abbreviations ix
1.Introduction 1
2.Art in the Early Indigenous Coins 9
3.Art in Coins of the Early Non-Indigenous Rulers (I) 31
4.Art in the Coins of the Early Non-Indigenous Rulers (II) 53
5.Art in the Coinage of the Gupta Empire 73
6.Art in the Post-Gupta Coinages in North India 97
7.Art in the Coins of Peninsular India (From the Fourth to the thirteenth centuries) 125
8.Numismatic Art in Mediaeval India (First Phase) – The Coins of the Sultanates and Vijayanagara 137
9.Numismatic Art in Mediaeval India (Second Phase) – The Coins of the Mughals and their Contemporaries 153
10.Epilogue 185
Appendix I.Symbols on Ponch-Marked Coins by Sabita Sharma 193
Appendix II.Devices on the Coins of Far South of the early Centuries AD by S. Suresh 199
Appendix III.Art of Islamic Calligraphy on Indian Coins by Danish Moin 211
Select Bibliography 219
Plates 223

Preface of Vol.2

Following the plan of publishing the eight volumes of Report on the Numismatic Art of India: Documentation of Material in four volumes, volumes VI to VIII are beings published as volume II (Album of Masterpieces of Indian Coins) (Cf. Preface to Volume I). The coins illustrated in the Album are serially numbered (A. + S.No.).

I am grateful to Dr. K.K. Chakravarty, Prof. G.C. Tripathi, Dr. V.S. Shukla and Dr. Radha Banerjee-Sarkar for arranging the publication.

The type-script of the press copy was prepared by Mohammad Giyasuddin Mallik, whereas the layout and CRC of the present volume have been done by Sri Arun Kumar Kandar. The proofs have been checked by Sri Pitambar Barik at my end and later by Prof. G.C. Tripathi and Dr. Radha Banerjee-Sarkar in New Delhi while the work was in progress. I am obliged to all of them.

From the Jacket of Vol.2

Numismatic Art of India Volume. II

The illustrated work is the second of the four volumes of publication named Numismatic Art of India: Documentation of Materials. The present volume contains an Album of Masterpieces of Indian Coins.

The Album includes photographs of excellent Indian coins of early and mediaeval periods (with, some exceptions). The relevant coins are significant for the study of numismatic art of early and mediaeval India.

The Album is expected to be of great help to the students of art and coins and also to the interested public.

Preface vii
Abbreviations ix
Part I
1.Punch-marked Coins 3
2.Early Uninscribed Cast and Die-struck Coins 21
3.Local and Tribal Coins 27
4.Coins of the Indo-Greeks 37
5.Coins of the Saka-Pahlava Rulers 65
Part II
6.The Coins of the Imperial Kushanas and their successors 103
7.Coins of the Early Far South and the Deccan 135
8.The Coin of the imperial Guptas 145
9.Coins of Proto-Mediaeval North India 187
10.Coins of Proto-Mediaeval South India 201
Part III
11.Coins of Mediaeval South India 211
12.Coins of Mediaeval North and Central India (Pre-Mughal) 223
13.Coins of the Imperial Mughals 231
14.Coins of Mediaeval North-East India 271
15.The Sikh Coinage 279
16.Coins of the Early Modern Period 283
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