AE Cash | 15/16mm | 1.19g Tutuks of Ferghana 7th and 8th Centuries (Hartill possibly 627-649 AD) Ref.: Smirnova 1445, Hartill GCC 4.28 Cf. Zeno 77707, 76210, 51129, 5463, or 36668 Stephen Album reference; These coins are part of a wider series of mostly anonymous AE cash coins that were minted and circulated around the Central Asian valleys where trade flourished from Tang Dynasty China of the East to the Byzantines and greater Europe to the West. The many peoples and kingdoms along the way were able to find great wealth in facilitating the trade and there were incredible cultural pressures and interconnection that had not yet been seen in the Ferghana Valley region, modern day Uzbekistan with bits of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. See the excellent map below, found on Behance thanks to Eric Olason. At the time these coins were minted the area was ruled by the Sogdians, a network of affiliated city-states in Central Asia. In Chapter 4 of A Guide to Cash Coins Hartill writes a Chinese quote from the time; "They are very good at trading, love profit, and go abroad at the age of twenty. They are everywhere profit is to be found". The Sogdians were the last rulers of the area before the Arab Muslim conquest by the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates. The Sogdians spoke a unique language that has since evolved into the Yaghnobi language which is spoken by the Yaghnobi ethnic group, the survivors of the Sogdians. Wikipedia puts their numbers at around 25,000. Another people group of the area was the Turks, an ethnic population that had long been involved in the region and was intermarried into the local population. Hartill places these Sogdian script AE cash coins of Ferghana to 627-649 AD during the time of Turk rule of Ferghana. I was unable to find many details about the Turk rule, but here is what I found. a) Turkish academic encyclopedia İslâm Ansiklopedisi says the ruler "Kan Bagatur" siezed power of Ferghana from 627-649 AD. It says Kan Bagatur was a decendant of the Göktürks, corroborating Hartill's point on the Turk rule. I was unable to find anymore information on Kan Bagatur but Bagatur is a traditional title used in the region. b) Turkish academic article The Influence of the Chinese coinage over the Pre-Islamic Coins of Central Asia by Dr. Gaybullah Babayar states that according to Chinese records, during the time period 627-649 AD one of the Western Göktürks, "Kan Mo-he-du" or Tun Bahadur, had the ruler of Ferghana, "Ki-pi-'yi", killed. After Ki-pi-'yi was dead, the administration of Ferghana was taken over by "Aşena Shu-ni’nin". I've also been unable to find much more about these rulers but putting these all together, it seems there was a Turkish ruler of the Western Göktürks called Kan Bagatur who seized Ferghana from Ki-pi-'yi and ruled the region from 627-649 AD. Hartill suggests that these coins were first issued under this Kan Bagatur, which lines up on the timeline as the early Sogdian script cash coins were known to have borrowed from the newly released Tang Dynasty Chinese cash that read Kai Yuan Tong Bao. These Kai Yuan coins were first produced in 621 AD and quickly poured from Chinese mints into wide circulation, both in China and with it's neighboring states. The Sogdians were one of the first groups along the Silk Road headed West so they were likely most influenced by the Kai Yuan. Below is my Early Type Kai Yuan. AE Cash | 24.5mm | 3.09g Inaugural Currency Obv.: Kai Yuan Tong Bao (t-b-r-l) Rev.: Blank Tang Dynasty, China Early Type, 621-718 AD Ref.: Hartill 14.2 Witnessing the flood of these copper cash headed West along the Silk Road, the Sogdians were quick to emulate the coins with some even copying the majority of the Chinese inscriptions. The coins shifted from Chinese lettering to full Sogdian script, which is the case with my piece. There are two catalog references for my coin that I've been able to find. 1) Catalog of Sogdian Coins: Bronze (СВОДНЫЙ КАТАЛОГ СОГДИЙСКИХ МОНЕТ БРОНЗА by Olga Smirnova. She lists it as #1445 and attempts to translate the Sogdian as 'lpw(?) γ'γ'n twtwy. She points to the runic character "ash" to the right. Smirnova mentions the poor casting quality with the casting sprue being intact. She mentions an excavation by V. A. Bulatova of the ancient city of Kuva in Ferghana (today in Uzbekistan). Smirnova's entire book is available (in Russian) for non-commercial download thanks to the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University. Here is the download link. Below is my likely-poorly translated version of Smirnova's entry; 2) A Guide to Cash Coins by David Hartill. He shows this coin in the Sogdian Script chapter as number 4.28. Hartill reads the Sogdian as alpw(?) gagan twtwg and again mentions the runic character "ash". The translation is given, shakily if so, as "?? Khagan of? Tutuks. Another member in a Facebook group weighed in and helped. He said that gagan translates to khagan (khan for short) which was a very common ruler title for the time and region. The twtwg is translated as tutuk, which has a debated meaning. The member said that Denis Sinor, linguist, argues that tutuk was a reigional Turkic title of Chinese origin. This would further demonstrate credibility towards Hartill's 627-649 AD date range for the coins. Below is the entry in Hartill's A Guide to Cash Coins; The Sogdian script cash coins are a truly fascinating and widely variable coinage. Some of the issues even incorporated themes and styles from the other direction of trade, the Sasanian Empire of Persia. I'd like to wrap this up with a call for any other examples of Silk Road coinage, either from merchant states like mine or larger entities. Lastly, I wanted to share this nice selection of the Sogdian coinage. These pages are found in The Influence of the Chinese coinage over the Pre-Islamic Coins of Central Asia by Dr. Gaybullah Babayar. Number 19 on page 1 is my coin!