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CENTRAL ASIAN ANTIQUITIES.
The Central Asian Antiquities which are comprised in the British Collection distribute themselves into the following main classes: (1) manuscripts; (2) xylographs; (3) terra-cottas and pottery; (4) coins and seals; and (5) figures of stone, metal or wood, and other miscellaneous objects.
As the coins present the most serviceable historical and chronological data, it may be best to commence with their description.
SECTION I.-COINS AND SEALS.
The following is a Summary of the Coins in the Collection:
There are altogether seventy-two of these coins in the Collection : nine large and sixty-three small ones. They all come from Khotan and
J. I. 5
its neighbourhood; and they formed part of the consignments M. 2, M. 3, M. 6, M. 9, G. 5, G. 7, G. 10, and T. 1.
Two coins of this description, one large and one small, were first published by Mr. Gardner in the Numismatic Chronicle, Vol. XIX (1879), pp. 275, 276. These likewise were procured from Khotan by Sir T. D. Forsyth. They have been republished by Dr. Terrien de Lacouperie in the British Museum Catalogue of Chinese Coins, p. 394. The large one is also republished in the British Museum Catalogue of Indian (Greek and Scythic) Coins, p. 172. Both coins, especially the small one, were in too imperfect a condition to admit of being fully read. In the present collection there are some much better preserved specimens.
All these coins are of copper. They are not of iron, as was at first erroneously supposed.
Of the large coins, there are three varieties, distinguished by the arrangement of the obverse legend. Of these varieties there are one, three and one specimen respectively. Four specimens cannot be determined. Of the smaller coins there are five varieties, distinguished by differences in the reverse design, and in the arrangement of the legends. Of these five varieties there are 17, 13, 3, 3 and 3 specimens respectively. Twenty-three specimens are too worn or corroded to admit of being determined.
The following is a detailed list of all the coins, large and small, with their weights and measures. Their exact find-place has also been noted, when known: in the other cases it must be understood that the coin came either from Khotan itself or from one of the buried sites near it :
The following is a description of the coins:
(a) Large Coins. (Plate I, No. 6).
Obverse: Two concentric circles, of which the outer one consists
Reverse: Two concentric linear circles; in central area, bare horse
No. 1 of the list, shown in Pl. I, 6, is nearly identical with that figured in the British Museum Catalogue, p. 394, but the Chinese legend, partially read by Dr. T. de Lacouperie, is far more legible.
(b) Small Coins. (Plates I, 8-18 and III, 1-4).
Obverse Chinese legend of three symbols, in old forms; the same on all five varieties.
Reverse: In first and second varieties, bare horse, standing or
walking to right; round it a circular marginal legend in Kharosthi characters, showing in the first variety the letter ma (of mahārāja), in the second variety, the letter ti (of uthabirāja), over neck of horse.
The third variety has a Bactrian two-humped camel standing to right, and the same Kharoşṭhi legend as on the large coins, with ma over head of camel.
The fourth variety has the bare horse, walking to right, within a circular linear area, outside which is the Kharoşțhi legend, with mahā opposite the tail of the horse, but very incomplete.
The fifth variety has a camel walking to right, led by a man, surrounded by a marginal legend in Kharoṣṭhi, with ma over the head of the camel. Unfortunately both figure and legend in all three specimens are too badly preserved to admit of being fully deciphered.
(c) The Kharosthi Legend.
The Kharoṣṭhi legend occurs in two different versions: a longer and a shorter one. The former which consisted probably of 20 letters is found on the large coins and on the small coins of the third (or camel) variety. The shorter legend, comprising probably 13 letters, is found on the small coins of the first, second and fourth (or horse) varieties. The length of the two legends can easily be calculated from the space distributable to the preserved and lost portions respectively. What the legend on the small coins of the fifth variety may have been, it is, at present, impossible to say.
The snorter legend is arranged in three different ways: in the coins of the first variety it commences over the neck of the horse, and in those of the fourth, behind its tail, while in those of the second variety, it probably commenced below its feet. It is fullest preserved on the coins Nos. 1 and 4 of the first and No. 7 of the second variety. The best readings on coins of the first variety are the following:No. 1 maharajutha (bi) × ja Gugrama(d)asa (Pl. I, 9). No. 2 maharayu × × × × Gugratidasa. No. 3 maharayu xxx x No. 4 maharayuthara x No. 7 mahara(ja) × × × × No. 10 maha × × ×
No. 14 maha (ra) × × × × ×
Gugra (mad) asa (Pl. I, 13).
Gugradamasa (Pl. I, 8).
The best readings on coins of the second variety are the following:
No. 5 × ×rajo × bi × × (Gugra) × × × (Pl. I, 14).