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:
General: - 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.
Portrait: - 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.
Attendants: - 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
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
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.
This coin introduces the canonical Chavada portrait that dominates this series. The portrait is almost naturally proportioned, although the cranium is somewhat large and the cheek is taller and droopier than seen on an actual human being. The eye is an unadorned dot sitting in its socket, which is topped by an eyebrow engraved in relief on a jutting brow. The nose descends at about 45 degrees, and the nostril is a dot; beneath that are the lips and chin in a neatly vertical stack. There is a prominent moustache that runs from the upper lip, follows the curvature of the cheek, and terminates at the back, just a little lower than it started. The beard is made of small dots all connected by a line that runs around the portrait. The ear is medium sized and has some inner detail, but not much. It wears earrings with at least two pearls, behind these is a star-shaped hair bun. The headgear is obscured by a flat strike and the characteristic striations often seen on early coins of this series. The front ribbon only is visible - the bottom portion is a backwards S, originating from the edge of the die and made of two separate strokes. The upper portion is large and well spaced, but does not line up well with the lower portion. The shoulder pads are indistinct club shapes beneath the portrait.
Like the previous coin, the fire altar is tall and exceptionally wide. We can see the flame dots have now firmly settled into the 4-3-2-1 pattern, and are well spaced. The shaft again is a sort of cross, this time with an indistinct central blob. The ribbons are better engraved this time, and follow the curvature of the fire altar base and run off the die. Sun and moon are not visible. The attendants again have circular heads and a large solid necklace; their breasts are not as prominent here. The body is a single thick line that terminates in a double-crescent hem. The outer arm appears to be jointed (the upper arm is not visible) and again is quite long. The inner arm originates a little higher than on the previous coin, and curiously merges with the outer arm on the left attendant, and very nearly does so on the right.
1.2.2 - Early Intermediate type - Atypical face, no eye line
These scarce types break away from the canonical Chavada type face and depict the nose with the nostril connected, rather than hovering behind it as a disconnected dot. While these coins are probably contemporaneous with 1.2.3,
22.214.171.124 - Attendants with feet
This first type, for now only represented by one specimen, carries over the skirt attendants from series 126.96.36.199. The bust however is a variant of the Chavada type (even with a solid nose), and the reverse showing a double fire altar ribbon firmly place it within this series.
188.8.131.52 Coin 1
This is the final coin I have seen in this entire track that unambiguously depicts attendants with feet. The portrait here is quite striking; the eye is immediately drawn to an extraordinarily exaggerated and thick brow atop a solid almost aquiline nose. The eye is a small unadorned dot crammed in the small gap between the nose and the head. The upper lip is curiously almost absent, replaced by the moustache which can be seen going onto the cheek, where it is lost to wear. The lower lip is a dot, as is the chin, and the beard is made of small dots. The ear is high, small, and simple; it wears the standard three-pearl earring. The hair bun is a small star behind the earring. The neck is absent; only the necklace lies beneath the beard. The shoulder pads are two club shapes surrounded by dots and connected at a central brooch. The headgear is all off-flan or flat struck, except for part of the dotted brim of the hat. The ribbons follow the typical pattern, although they are not engraved as neatly as we will see later in the series. The bottom portion still seems to be made of two separate strokes, but follows the typical S shape.
The reverse here shows the problem faced by most coins in this series - the reverse die is markedly larger than the flan, here cutting off most of the flame and the entire right attendant. Typical for the series, the fire altar is large, well-engraved, and dominates the reverse. The shaft is a neatly engraved "nativity star" comprised of a large and heavy cross with smaller rays in each quadrant. The ribbons are neatly engraved double lines and do not run over any devices. The attendant is heavily worn, but enough is visible for some analysis - The head is entirely flat, but there appears to be a large and thick necklace above the breasts. The outer arm is jointed at the elbow and somewhat short, gesturing toward the ribbon without coming close to it. The inner arm curves toward the fire altar, originating at the second line of the bowl and terminating evenly with the horizontal bar of the shaft. Most importantly of all, the attendant wears a roughly triangular skirt with some vestigial herringbones and two dots for feet beneath - the skirt is not angled naturally and appears to originate from the attendant's hand.
In this series, the attendants take their standard form for series 1.2 - the attendants' legs disappear and the dress becomes a blob intersected by slanted lines which are vestigial herringbones or skirt hems.
This coin has a portrait a little unlike any other I've seen from early series 1.2 - it is in fact a little reminiscent of series 1.1. The head is tall, narrow, engraved in relief, and curves very slightly backward. The eye is a large unadorned dot sitting snugly in the eye socket beneath a heavy brow. The nose is long and comes to a point, where it joins somewhat naturally with the nostril. The upper lip is mostly diminished, replaced by the moustache line which travels straight for a short distance before dipping downward and disappearing onto the cheek. The lower lip and chin are both large circles, and the beard is a string of fine dots, about half of which are connected by a fine line. The necklace is visible, but no neck; the shoulder pads appear to be large dotted clubs. The ear is small, high, and simplistically engraved, touting the standard three pearl earring. The hair bun is a small irregular pom-pom behind the ear lobe. The rear ribbon is small and neatly engraved - interestingly the lower portion is engraved in two strokes, but wraps in on itself almost like a cinnamon bun. The brim of the hat is made of dots largely similar to the beard dots, and runs straight over the head. The wings have diminished significantly to a single thick line almost making a P shape, flanked on the bottom by two dots. The crescent and part of the korymbos is visible, but only barely.
The reverse is more or less canonical for the series by this point. The fire altar dominates the reverse; the flames are mostly off flan and barely visible. The bowl and shaft mirror each other, and interestingly, the shaft is a star made of six rays around a central pellet - A bit of an iconographical jump ahead that makes me suspect this coin actually dates from the middle of series 1.2. The ribbons are two more or less neatly laid out parallel lines of dots - there is still a bit of unevenness that will disappear as time progresses. The attendants are taking their canonical shape - the head is a large plain circle, here sitting atop a solid crescent necklace. The breasts are large and prominent below the necklace. The inner arm originates at the shoulder and follows the curvature of the fire altar bowl downward to the ribbon. The outer arm is jointed at the elbow, but is beginning to become disassembled - here the lines do not actually meet at the elbow. The lower body here has morphed into an oblong blob following the general direction of the fire altar base and ribbon. Two lines vestigial of the hem bisect the blob. The feet are now gone.
1.2.3 - Early Intermediate type - Standard Face, No eye line, disappearing attendants
Following 1.2.1, the drachms begin to undergo a few important changes. The portrait begins to be engraved in higher relief, and becomes squatter and wider. Perhaps more importantly, the body of the attendants on the reverse disappears and is replaced by a blob. Most examples show lines running through this blob, probably vestigial herringbones. While the basic template is standardized by this point, the details are far from standardized, leading to a fair bit of diversity within this type. For the sake of easy categorization, we will break this type down into three varieties based on the style of the necklace worn by the attendants. It is important to note that these probably do not imply chronology.
184.108.40.206 - Attendants without necklace
This lone example was probably nothing more than a mistake by the celator, as other features indicate a later coin. The head is typical, a bit smaller on the flan than most, and has the distinct feature of the nose being connected to the brow by a vertical line. The ribbon is small and generously spaced, the bottom of the front ribbon originating somewhere beneath the shoulder pads. The wings here are made of just a horizontal line with a curve pointing toward the head, flanked by two pellets.
The reverse is largely obscured by flat strike and an undersized flan for the die - we can at least see that the fire altar is large, and like the previous coin, the shaft is made of a small star consisting of a pellet with at least seven rays. The moon is a large thick crescent. The attendants are rapidly coming apart here - the head breasts and arms are all still intact (as mentioned previously, this attendant is the lone example that does not wear any sort of necklace), but the lower body has by now degraded into a large ovoid blob with two vestigial herringbones likely standing in for the hem of the dress.
Great work, Steve. I missed the posts on the 11th, and so I just got myself caught up on the 1.2 series. The analyses are fantastic - just so well thought out. To state the obvious: your observational skills are really advanced. (They would have to be to see the nuanced differences that define the varieties here) Well done. Looking forward to updates.
Like the previous type, the rarity of these coins leads me to believe that they are a one-off issue; perhaps even a provincial or barbarous issue. I currently own two coins, which are nearly identical to each other, and the first is a double die match to Maheshwari's specimen 290 in his book! I have not yet observed any other coins which could be categorized along with these coins.
220.127.116.11 Coin 1
The portrait on this coin is most distinctive thanks to its abnormally large eye in an otherwise typical, if somewhat more crude, portrait. The cranium is a bit smaller than normal for the series, and the brow ridge tapers off less dramatically than on others. The eyebrow is prominent, and wraps around the eye an onto the cheek. The brow terminates in a slanted line, rather than a dot. The nose is made of two strokes, a short vertical bridge that almost connects to the brow, and then a long slanted line that tapers off to a point. The nostril hovers between the nose and the cheek, and the mustache leads onto the cheek, but then seems to turn downward and terminate on the beard. The beard is made up of tiny dots, most connected to each other via a very thin line. The ear is high, simple, and almost pointed like an elf ear; it wears the typical three-pearl earring, and the hair bun in an indistinct blob behind it. The hat is mostly off flan, but seems to be slightly angled downward, following the slant of the ribbons. The ribbons are also mostly obscured, but we can see three well-spaced ribbons before the nose, although they follow the slant of the nose, indicating they were likely squeezed in to the die after the portrait was engraved. The lower portion of the ribbon is engraved in a single line; a backwards S that trails off somewhere about where the shoulder pads should be. The shoulder pads are completely obscured by a large area of flat strike.
The reverse is quite crude for the series. The lines comprising the bowl of the fire altar are slightly crooked, and importantly, the sun is a clustered mess with the ray dots being engraved on top of each other - this helped to confirm the die match to Maheshwari 290. The attendant here is about normal for the series, except as noted above, she wears a solid necklace rather than a beaded one. This variety is the last in the entire track to feature a solid necklace, which had been an intermittent feature throughout 1.1 and earlier in this series. The arm is made up of at least two strokes, with the humerus being rather thinly engraved, and running over the attendant's breast. The forearm is about normal for the series. Below the arm, the attendant's skirt is the typical blob, here displaying at least one prominent vestigial herringbone.
This one, I will admit, I had down as a die match to Coin 1 even until halfway through my write-up. The differences are subtle, but important. Although more heavily worn, the overall portrait is struck in higher relief. The brow is more prominent and rounded, and the nose doesn't terminate in a sharp point. The mustache is faint, nearly impossible to see. The ear is thinner and higher, and the earrings are more carefully engraved. Most importantly, the upper ribbon is more tightly spaced, and the lower portion is made of two strokes, and originates somewhere around the 3:00 position off of the flan.
An almost entirely different portion of the reverse is present, so it was difficult for me to properly assess, but I do not believe this to be a die match to our Coin 1. The fire altar is overall similarly engraved, although the angle of the lines in the altar bowl are slightly off. We can see the shaft is a botched "nativity star", and the right ribbon is a disorganized cluster of dots, not neatly arranged rows. The attendants on this coin are mostly off flan, although we can still see the solid necklace, which on this coin touches the inner arm. The forearm is a double line, and the skirt is the same slanted blob with vestigial herringbones.