Kubera on the Gold Pala of Sri Lanka

27 Apr 2020  Mon

Sri Lanka’s currency-use can be divided into five phases. Anuradhapura Era, among them, is the first one. The Anuradhapura Kingdom named for its capital city was the first established kingdom in ancient Sri Lanka, founded by King Pandukabhaya in 377 BC. The earliest unit of currency known in the island is referred to as a Kahapana. These punch-marked coins evolved and by 10-11 centuries later Sri Lankan coins became reformed.

The Gold coins of the late Anuradhapura Era are known as Kahavanu or Lankeshvara coins. A Sinhalese gold coinage known as the 'Kahavanu" had been in circulation on the island from about the 7th to 8th centuries AD. These coins were either gold or gold-plated. They were distinguishable in terms of value as ‘Kahawanu’, ‘Ada Kahawanu’, ‘De Aka’, and ‘Aka’.

On the face of the coin, there is a human figure standing on a lotus stem. The figure appears to be clad in something similar to a ‘Dhoti’. The figure’s upturned left hand is holding an object against his tilted face. Some believe that the figure is ‘Kuvera’ the God of Wealth. The reverse of the coin depicts Devanagari legend: Lakshmi, lotus above, all within a beaded circular border.

Image Courtesy: vcoins.com

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