Indo Sassanian Coinage - Series 1.2 - Proto-gadhaiya, "Chavada" Type

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Finn235, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Following the enigmatic first series comes this series of increasingly Indianized coins. These are traditionally attributed to the Chavadas (also spelled Chavda or Chapa) of Gujarat, who ruled from c. 690-942. That attribution may or may not be correct. These coins are much more homogeneous, and it is within this series that we see the coins begin to shrink and thicken into a more familiar Gadhaiya Paisa fabric.

    Some consideration points for the series:

    - All coins are struck in good silver, and tend to be more completely struck than their predecessors, but strike issues are nevertheless commonplace.
    - The flan is almost always smaller than the die.
    - These are reasonably homogeneous, and seem to follow an apparently linear development until they fork off into two distinct evolutionary tracks.

    - The head is usually tall with large, roundish cheeks. The brow is prominent and jutting, and the forehead is tall, narrow, and usually has a very slight backwards curve.
    - Well-preserved specimens have prominent eyebrows. On many of these coins, the eyebrow terminates in a large dot above the nose.
    - The eye is a large dot and hovers in a large, roughly circular eye socket. Halfway through the series, a line is added that runs through the eye.
    - The nose is represented by a straight line which slopes downward at a roughly 45 degree angle
    - The nostril and lips are represented by dots beneath the nose, and are not attached to the head
    - Most specimens depict a long, thin mustache that runs from the top lip onto the head, and follows the curvature of the cheek to the back of the head.
    - The chin is represented by a dot, and is not attached to the head.
    - The beard is a single row of small dots that wraps around the head and up to the brim of the "hat".
    - There actually is no "hat", instead there is a line of small dots that run from the border of the die, straight over the top of the head, and to the other end of the die.
    - The wings are represented by curly shapes that somewhat represent upside down cornucopiae.
    - The orb is present on all specimens that show that part of the die, and is now an upward-opening crescent with a large dot in the middle.
    - The ear is a fairly standardized shape, and has the three-pearl earring present in the last series. Two pearls are directly attached via chains, while the third hovers between and below the other two.
    - The hair bun usually displays as a star shape between the ear and rear ribbon
    - The ribbons are larger than in the previous series, and again comprise three horizontal lines to form the "top" and a thin curvy line to form the "bottom"
    - The necklace presents as a series of dots that dip into the curve of the shoulder pads. Early specimens show a raised crescent to represent the neck that would be visible between the bottom of the jaw and the necklace. This degrades into a thin crescent.
    - The shoulder pads are usually smaller than on the previous series, and present as a club shape covered with dots.

    Fire Altar:
    - The fire altar tends to take up more of the reverse than on previous coins. It still follows the same flame-bowl-shaft-base anatomy.
    - The flame invariably follows a 4-3-2-1 pattern of dots
    - The bowl presents as 3 horizontal lines
    - The shaft has become a decorative star, rather than a small pillar
    - The base presents as three horizontal lines, again mirroring the bowl
    - The ribbon has become two parallel rows of small dots that run at a roughly 45 degree angle from the bowl of the fire altar to the bottom of the die on either side of the base. In exceptionally uncommon cases, very early specimens show only a single row of dots per ribbon.
    - The sun is invariably on the left side, and is portrayed as a ring of dots around a central dot
    - The moon is invariably on the right side, and is portrayed as a large, thin, upward-opening crescent.

    - Early attendants have full bodies and what looks like a herringbone dress minus the herringbones. This is replaced by a ball beneath the arms, and then just an oval shape. This is the last series to display any sort of body for the attendants.
    - The head is a large dot and never has facial features
    - The necklace is almost always present, and presents as a string of small dots. Some examples have a larger dot behind the head that may be some sort of hair decoration.
    - The arm usually presents as two lines that come together to bend at the elbow. The arm has no hand, and reaches toward the ribbon.

    Within this series, I will group my coins into the following sub-series:

    1.2.1 - Early type with full attendant body
    1.2.2 - Early Intermediate type - Atypical face, no eye line
    1.2.3 - Early Intermediate type - Standard face, no eye line
    1.2.4 - Intermediate type with line through the eye, Large flan (>18mm)
    1.2.5 - Late type - tall head, Small flan (<18mm)
    1.2.7 - Late type - "Neanderthal" portrait
    1.2.8 - Terminal type - Curved head, detached chin
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  3. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    1.2.1 - Early type with full attendant body

    In my mind, there is little question that these are a continuation of the preceding series 1.1. They are of sloppy workmanship characteristic of late in that series, and are on large, thin flans. Key features to distinguish them:

    - The portrait is tall, thin, sloppily engraved, and to me seems to resemble a Mr. Potato Head toy more than the human form. A fair range of styles can be found, but all are along these lines.
    - There is no longer any semblance of a "Hat", although the brim and wings are retained in a vestigial manner
    - The attendants are fully present with a body and legs, but the "dress" (really just a thin line at this point) is completely devoid of the "thorns" except possibly at the extreme bottom.
    - The fire altar's ribbon is now two parallel rows of dots that run down to the rim of the die.
    - The shaft of the fire altar has ceased to resemble a pillar and now presents as a star.

    1.2.1 Coin 1

    Indo Sassanian 1.2.1-1 22 4.00.jpg

    Despite the reasonably well-engraved reverse, this coin is not a looker!

    The portrait honestly resembles a pickle more than anything; the head is exceptionally long and thin, and barely changes thickness from the top of the head until the bottom of the cheek. There is a worn but prominent eyebrow that connects the straight nose to the head. The eye is an unadorned dot hovering between the nose and the head. The nose is a straight line that descends at roughly a 45 degree angle, and the nostril is a dot hovering directly under the eye. The lips and chin are all dots hovering beneath the nostril, and we can faintly see a long curvy moustache running from the upper lip and down the cheek. The hat has degraded to a slightly bent line of dots that runs from one end of the die, over the head (where it bends at a very shallow angle) and then on to the other end of the die. The wings are two downward-facing cornucopiae shapes, and we can see the korymbos presenting as a large crescent with a dot in the middle. The ear is large and simply engraved, and the hair bun, while only partially visible, is a star behind the ear. We can barely discern the lower portion of either ribbon, but the top portion are large and evenly spaced, although the front ribbon is straight while the rear is slanted.

    Contrasting the obverse, the reverse of this coin is one of the more attractive found in this series. The fire altar is especially tall and wide; a feature commonly seen throughout series 1.2. We can see the flames as ordered dots, although only a few dots are visible. The shaft is simpler than most in this series, and presents as a tall + shape; not quite yet a star. The ribbons are double rows of dots hanging as a single row from the bottom line of the fire altar bowl to the crossbar of the shaft, where it splits into two. The outer row runs onto the attendants' dresses. The sun is on the upper left, and is a single small dot surrounded by seven equally sized dots in a rough circle. The moon is not visible. The attendant on the left is the only one that is visible, and she is quite strikingly styled. Her head is an oval, and she wears a solid crescent necklace. Her two breasts are prominent, and her body is a solid line originating beneath the breasts and terminating in a hem made of two downward-facing crescents. Two small vertical lines make her legs. Her outer arm is especially long, jointed sharply at the elbow, and crosses over her to hold the ribbon at the middle. Her inner arm originates about at the necklace and reaches down the length of the fire altar bowl to the top of the ribbon.
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  4. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Excellent, well researched posts. In addition they are also very informative. For someone like me whose coin interests lie elsewhere this was a great read.
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