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Imitations in Continuity

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Tracking the Silver Coinage of Early Medieval India
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Item Code: UAC612
Author: K. K. Maheshwari
Publisher: IIRNS Publications Pvt. Ltd
Language: English
Edition: 2010
ISBN: 9788186786284
Pages: 320 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)
Other Details 11.50 X 9.00 inch
Weight 1.32 kg
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Book Description
About the Author

Kamalesh Kumar Maheshwari is a 1964 post-graduate in Economics from Mumbai University. Since childhood he has been collecting coins - a passion that grew with the years. This passion saw to the establishment of Indian Institute of Research in Numismatic Studies (a division of the Indian Numismatic, Historical and Cultural Research Foundation) which is today a premier resource centre for Indian numismatics.

Internationally known numismatist, Kamalesh Kumar has published over 25 research articles in the last three decades. He has also co-authored Maratha Mints and Coinage (1989) with Ken Wiggins and edited Numismatic Panorama (1998) with Biswajeet Rath.

The present book owes its genesis to his doctorate thesis on Indo-Sasanian Coins which was accepted by the University of Mumbai in 2009, earning him a PhD degree.


THE question of money circulation in early medieval north India is no trivial matter. Indeed, it is central to the great debate in recent decades on the nature of the society, politics and economy of that period. From an overall perusal of available source-materials, historical and numismatic, it would appear that north India had no major, well-established currency for the period between the disintegration of the so-called Huna Empire in India, c 530 CE, and the rise of the Shahi and Rajput kingdoms from the 10th century CE onwards. No coins that is, except for the 'Indo-Sasanian' series which has not been adequately studied and is the subject of our book. The Indo-Sasanian series is actually critically important because it provides us with the only numismatic bridge between the post-Gupta era and the 10th and 11th centuries CE. Because the coins are characteristically anonymous (with a few exceptions) and fashioned of debased metal, this series has attracted scant attention from the point of view of scholarly work, and is poorly represented in museum collections. The bulk of literature available on the subject of our study, composed quite some time ago, proves an inadequate base for any further intensive study. More recent work tends to be scattered through specialist journals and is not easily accessible to the general reader. So our objective may be stated thus: to hold up to the light and explore the varied facets of Indo-Sasanian and related coin types.

Available literature may be classified into three categories: (a) notices we come across in works whose focus is concentrated elsewhere; (b) scattered reports of finds or find spots of coins belonging to this series; and (c) works of a more analytical nature - which are regrettably few.

A. Cunningham's (reprint 1967) writings and V. A. Smith's (1906) catalogue perhaps carry the first notices of the Indo-Sasanian series. Other early works, such as Essays on Indian Antiquities of the Late James Prinsep (E. Thomas, reprint 1971), J. Todd's Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan and W. W. Webb's Currencies of the Hindu States of Rajputana also contain certain passing references to Indo-Sasanian coinage. However, all these works suffer from the disadvantages of the era in which they were composed. Written for the most part in the late 19th and early 20th centuries CE, when the concept of history was descriptive rather than analytical, they suffer from a lack of source material. In spite of this, they are useful to us from a historiographical point of view; while the first (Prinsep's) is backed by illustrations, the latter two are area-specific studies based on the authors' first-hand experience with the existing currency mechanism of itaiasthan/Rajputana.

The difficulties of the all important aspect of attribution of this series guides us to shift focus from what mould have been an issue-based study to an area-wise study - namely, of Rajasthan and adjoining areas. The writings of Dasharath Sharma (1966), G. H. Ojha (1927), C. V. Vaidya (reprint 1979) and B. N. Puri (1986) are all products of the mid-20th century CE, and all but the last are specific to Rajasthan or parts thereof. These books, at least the first two, are in the traditional mould of a dynastic history, and their utility, from our point of view, lies in the historical data they furnish on the relatively little known post- Gupta and pre-Ghaznavid period. Sharma's book, prepared under the aegis of the government, is arguably detailed study available on the history of Rajasthan. The author has not only utilised epigraphic sources, but also appended a bibliographic list of these primary sources at the end of each - This has proved particularly useful to our study. Roy Chaudhuri's Histories of Mewar and Udaipur, as also Ojha's History of Rajputana, were similarly helpful. Again, these writings contain very little, if any, information on the Indo-Sasanian series as such, and are useful insofar as the historical context is concerned. Puri's and V. B. Misra's (1966) writings on the Gurjara Pratiharas, A. K. Majumdar's Chaulukyas of Gujarat and P. Bhatia's The Paramaras are studies on those dynasties exercising political authority - albeit fluctuating - over roughly that geographical area which has yielded major finds of Indo-Sasanian coinage. In that context, they enable us to form a clear idea of the then existing political scenario.

As will be discussed elsewhere in this work, the interaction between the Hunan and the Sasanians Persia, and the former’s subsequent exploits India, is of key Moorman to our study. Following from that, secondary literature available on Huna history becomes an intrinsic part our readings. R. Gobl’s (1967) research on the Hunas and kindred groups in Central Asia are of prime interest in this regard.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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