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In the later coinage the peculiar article held by him, which some have supposed to be a weapon, is a double 'trisūla' resting on a circle or lotus that is represented by the bead under it, exactly as it is seen in the post-Christian Ajōdyā coin No. 15, on Plate XIX of the Indian Museum Catalogue. The double trisūla is also found on the early Yaudeya coin No. 1 of Plate VI of C. A. I., which is said by Sir A. Cunningham (p. 76) to date from about the first century B.C.; and on the Eran coin No. 19 of Plate XI of that work. It also appears on the Andra coin numbered 14, in Plate II of Sir W. Elliott's Coins of Southern India. This design is not recognisable on the oblong coins that I have seen.
Whether it was developed from the Greek caduceus, which occurs (or a symbol like it) on some Indian punch-marked coins, is uncertain; whatever its origin, it may have been perpetuated in its present form not only as a lucky emblem, a form of trident, a weapon greatly feared by demons, but also as a monogram that might be interpreted jaya, ' victory,' if the lower part be read as the letter ja and the upper part as ya-as its shape on the Ajōdhyā coin seems to indicate. In the latter meaning it would be a particularly appropriate emblem for any guardian deity. The word jaya itself is found on coin No. 14 of Plate XX of the Ind. Mus. Cat.
With respect to the female deities who appear on the oblong coins, the weapons which some hold must identify them with some form of Durgā, as the slayer of the Asuras or demons. Skanda was also the later champion and leader of the Gods against the demons.
The standing figure, whether male or female, would thus, like the Swastika, be thought to have special protective power against all classes of evil spirits; and that the oblong coins were credited with the possession of beneficial qualities is proved by finding some that were drilled for suspension on the neck as amulets.
The only other distinct symbol on the obverse of these coins is that on Nos. 27 and 32, and perhaps 44, the bead on the post, which has been sometimes termed the disk on the altar. It is found in the reliefs carved on a pillar at the side of one
of the wāhalkaḍas at the Jētawana dāgaba (of the Nandana garden) at Anuradhapura. The other designs included with it there in the spaces of a leafy meander pattern are all emblems that are not exclusively Buddhist, such as the Trisula, the Swastika, the Chank, the Five-headed Cobra, and the Yaktail Fly-whisk; on other pillars the Elephant, Lion, Bull, the Structure with three arches, and Nondescript animals are carved. Considering the unimportant position which it holds on the pillar, and its small size, it cannot be a DhammaChakka, or 'Wheel of the Law,' such as is worshipped in the Amaravati carvings, and it is not a fan, the circle being little wider than the post in one instance.
A circular fan, with a straight handle, is often carved after pillar inscriptions of the tenth century A.D. in Ceylon, when they contain grants of privileges in connection with monasteries, as one of the common emblems of the Community of Buddhist monks. In the case of the oblong coins, however, it is not probable that this meaning can be attached to a symbol at the side of an Indian deity, where it is much more likely to have some protective function, or to be an emblem of the god. It may be the sun-emblem or discus of Vishnu; if so, the person at whose side it stands may be that god or his 'śakti' or female manifestation, Lakshmi, the Goddess of Prosperity.
This symbol appears to be a relic of the early Indian Sunworship; it represents the sun as it would appear when it rose due east of the pointer-stone of a sun-temple, on which occasion it would be visible for a moment from the centre of the circle, as a full disk resting on the summit of the stone. In the case of perhaps the earliest existing representation of a pointer-stone, the sun, as an eight-pointed star (with eight intermediate rays of light radiating from a central ball), is delineated as resting on the rounded apex of a tall cone which is carved in relief on the 'Stele of Victory' of Narāmsin, King of Agade in the Euphrates valley (3750 B.C.).1
In the coin No. 27 it is clear that the post or column at
1 See the Plate facing p. 160 in Messrs. King and Hall's Egypt and Western Asia, 1907.
the top of which the disk is placed is terminated in a blunt point, like a pointer-stone. There is a round column of nearly the same shape, with a rounded apex, but without the disk, at the side of a three-arched structure surmounted by a crescent, on the Taxila coin No. 6 of Plate II of Cunningham's Coins of Ancient India; and I have seen quite similar cut pointerstones, like circular obelisks, on the eastern side of stone circles in the Gambia valley in West Africa.
The learned authors who have described the coins termed Purānas agree that the wheel with straight spokes is a sun emblem and not a Dhamma-chakka; and we know that on each of the faces of the' tees' of the early dāgabas of Anurādhapura there was a representation of the sun in relief, which is still to be seen on one of them. A disk with a central flat boss and a circle round it, similarly raised on a pillar which has a base and capital, is carved in relief at the top of the face of each engaged pillar at the sides of the wāhalkaḍas at the Miriswaeți dāgaba at Anuradhapura. It has a chatta above it. It appears to be the same sun-emblem, perhaps converted into a Dhamma-chakka (Fig. No. 84).
In these notes on the symbols I have referred to a large circular coin of Ceylon. The first specimen was discovered by me at the Tissa excavations, in digging a channel; it is in the Colombo Museum. Several others have been obtained at Anuradhapura and one at Mihintale. In his Annual Report for 1900, p. 5, Mr. Bell records his finding one in a peculiar brick-lined pit at Anuradhapura, and mentions that about fifty of these coins were discovered at one site on private land at that town; of these some selected examples were sent to the Colombo Museum. The three which I have seen appeared to belong to the third or fourth century A.D. I append descriptions of the Tissa coin and two others kindly submitted to me by the late Mr. Ievers when Government Agent of Anuradhapura.
53. A roughly circular copper coin with a mean diameter of 1.27 inches; weight 220 grains. Found in digging a channel at Tissa. The designs on it and the others were impressed
by two dies, the marks of which are visible; they do not rise above the level of the border. Those on the reverse side were afterwards cut more deeply by hand on this coin.
0. The design is surrounded by two parallel circular lines, 10 in. apart, having between them an intermediate line, broken in one part into a series of dots, and perhaps similarly broken on the opposite side. Owing to the erroneous position of the die only three-fourths of the design is on this face.
In the right lower corner is a well-shaped elephant, facing 1., with extended tail. Above it, but to 1., a tree standing on a cross enclosed in a square, or surrounded by a fence. On each of the upper corners of the enclosure is a bead or disk surmounted by a crescent, like some so-called 'Taurine' symbols on Indian coins. The tree has an upright stem from which grow two alternate lateral branches, each, as well as the stem, ending in three leaves, one terminal and the others lateral. At the top of the coin and to r. of the tree, the Swastika symbol raised as before and turned r., with four basal supporters. Between it and the tree are three beads, and another is near the rim at the r. lower corner. Between the base of the Swastika and the back of the Elephant is an isosceles triangle lying on its side and pointing 1., with a cross-bar at the apex; to the r. a structure of three arches.
R. A single flat rim. There are three symbols in the upper half of this face and one in the lower half. In the middle of the upper half the Swastika as before, of broad lines, turned r.; near its r. upper corner three beads arranged in a triangle. To 1., an indistinct symbol. To r., an Aum monogram of two triangles meeting at their apices, with a cross-bar there and a shorter one projecting on r. of lower triangle. In the middle of the lower half a structure of three arches on each side of which are three beads arranged in a triangle.
54. A roughly circular coin, 1-47 inches in diameter; weight 223 grains. It was found on the bank of the Malwatta-oya at Anuradhapura.
O. Two raised circular bands enclose the design, with a third between them broken into three beads near the top and on the 1. side. In the middle, at the base, a tusk elephant