as-Sikka السكة
The Online Journal of The Islamic Coins Group 
as-Sikka is a peer reviewed publication
ISSN 1496-4414 

Spring 2000AD / 1420AH  Vol. 2.1

 

Fifteenth century copper coins (dangi) from Kashgar
By Dr. T.D. Yih, The Netherlands,

Recently, Alexander Akin published a translation of  a paper by Tao Zhifang, entitled “An examination of Yarkand Khanate coinage”, dealing with some coins issued in southern Xinjiang after the collapse of the eastern Chaghatayid realm and to  a Yarkand khanate (1).

The translation was published in  the first newsletter “as-Sikka” of the Islamic coins group and a request was included for information on the coins presented. I am happy to provide some additional information on the so-called type one of the Yarkand  khanate coinage.

This type of coins has been firstly described and illustrated by Hoernle at the end of the 19th century (2). He mentioned 7 copper coins from Kashgar found by MacCartney in the Taklamakan desert in 1897. Their weight  and size ranged from 8.5 to 12.3 g and 23.9 to 30.5 mm. According to Hoernle the reverse bears the mint name Kashgar in a square surrounded by semi-circles. These might contain the words: zarb adl followed by an unidentified word, possibly fal(u)s.The bottom semi-circle contains the word zarb; the right one adl; the top and left one falu/s, respectively. The obverse contained the date in words read as  AH950/AD1543.

The second reference to this type of coins was made by Masson (3) in a paper describing a hoard of 15th century coins from the city of Osch. The hoard contained 46 Kashgarian coins. They were dated a century earlier than done by Hoernle i.e. AH850/AD1446.

In the frame-work of my studies on coins along the Silk-Road, a decade ago I was generously supplied of  photographs by the British Museum Dept. of Coins and Medals. Amongst them were 4 coins as described by Hoernle.

Looking carefully at the four BM-coins the following legends can be reconstructed:

Obverse

The obverse contains a legend consisting of 4 lines and surrounded by a solid inner ring. On no.1 also a part of a dotted outer ring is visible.The upper line is semi-circular and contains the words “fi el tarikh” (   ). Therebelow the

wpe1CC.jpg (6421 bytes)
1
wpe1CD.jpg (6685 bytes)
2
wpe1CE.jpg (5940 bytes)
3
wpe1CF.jpg (7655 bytes)
4

second line that consists of the word “sanat”. The third line contains the word “khamsin” as can be distinguished most clearly on

no. 2.  Most importantly, on this piece and also on no. 4 at the fourth line the hundreds are best visible with the words “wa theman miat“ showing clearly the three dots of the “th” above the “m”.

Reverse

Three of the four obverse side are struck irregular or double-struck. In the center-square of no. 2,  the “K” of Kashgar is clearly visible and above it the rest of the word.

wpe1D0.jpg (7308 bytes)
1
wpe1D1.jpg (7177 bytes)
2
wpe1D2.jpg (5703 bytes)
3
wpe1D3.jpg (6170 bytes)
4

The center-squares of Nos 1, 3 and 4 contain above the name of Kashgar another word, as a result of which Kashgar is written differently from No. 2; “shgar” is not on top of the “K”, but left to it. The word above Kashgar looks like the word “dangi”.

“Da” and the final “i” are clearly visible on no. 3, whereas the hook of the “g”  is best visible on no. 4.  The complete center legend should be read then as “dangi of Kashgar”. Dangi is the name of the anonymous Central asian copper coins struck by the Timurid and Shaybanid authorities. This has been adopted apparently also by the rulers of   Kashgar. The semi-circle below the center-square contains the word “zarb”. The legends in the remaining semi-circles has to be reconstructed by combination. The right segment of no. 2 contains the word

“adl”; the top and left semi-circles of nos 2 and 3 contain the word

“falus; the “S”  is clearly visible in the left semi-circle of no. 3.

No. 1 has been double-struck; at the upper left a second center-square with a clearly visible. However, there is a different positioning of the legends. At the top “dangi” is visible; right below that the “K” and at the bottom of  this second square “shgar” can be distinguished.

wpe1D4.jpg (43823 bytes)

context

Numismatically, the Eastern part of the Chaghatayid realm is inferior to the Western part with respect to the number of mints and their production as is evidenced by our present knowledge on Chaghatayid coins, especially from the later period.  (4).

Almaligh the eastern capital, had its zenith of coin production during the period AH650-680/AD1251-1281.   From the 14th century only silver dirhems from Yesun Timur (dated AH740/AD1340) and Muhammad (in the East) AH 744 are known. As compared with the Qarakhanid period, during the Chaghatayid period Kashgar played only a very modest role as a mint. There are known only a few silver pieces  with the S-tamgha from the late 14th century(AH681-91/AD12891) and a number of

copper pieces issued by Masud Khwarezmi, tentatively dated AH650.  Recently,  copper coins with the S-tamgha [AH675/AD1276], some of them overstruck on the Masud pieces, appeared on the market.

Kashgar  entered apparently Islamic numismatics only again centuries later with the issue of the pieces of Yakub (AH1290/AD1873).

 

Historical context

The history of the later Chaghatayid period in the East is preserved fragmentary and mainly based on the work of the historian Muhammad Haidar Dughlat. His work has been referred to by several western Centralasia historians like Grousset (5) and Spuler(6) .

Whereas around 1363 the Chaghatayids in the western part of Transoxania were succeeded by the Timurids,  Timur did not succeed in submitting  the eastern part, Moghulistan, where since about 1366  the Dughlat Emir Qamar ed-din and Chudaidad his nephew possessed the real power.

Around AD1446 the power of the former Chaghatayid realm in Moghulistan was still contested by several factions. There was a civil war between Esen Buqa II (1429-62) and his brother Yunus and later since 1487 between Yunus’s two sons Ahmed and Mahmud. Although Esen Buqa II died in 1462, it lasted it until about  1472 before Yunus was master in his apinage. In his later years Yunus even reconquered some areas on the Timurids and he died around 1486 in Tashkent. Thereafter, Moghulistan was divided between his 2 sons. Mahmud received the western part with Tashkent as capital and Ahmed received the eastern part.

However, in the south-western Tarim including Kashgar, Yarkand and Khotan, the real power remained in the hands of the Dughlat clan. Chudaidad’s grandson Sayyid Ali was for more than 20 years (1433-57) the local ruler of Kashgar. The struggle between Yunus’s son Ahmed and the Dughlat clan about Kashgar and Jengi Hisar  lasted until 1499 and ended undecided.  After Ahmed’s execution by the Uzbegs in 1508 regional rulers like Abu Bekir Dughlat and the governor of Hami Muzaffar Khan were practically independent till 1516 when the central authority was restored by Said Khan. According to some sources Said was the son of Ahmed, whereas toothers belonged to the Alacha family (7) Although around 1531 the power of the Dughlat clan was much reduced by   Said Khan and his brother Mansur, some Dughlats still possessed mighty positions as evidenced by the historian Mohammad Haidar Dughlat who served under Said as commander in Ladakh. Only in 1541 he left the service of Abd-er-Rashid who succeeded his father Said in Kashgar. Only at the end of the sixteenth century when the Chaghatayids have been restricted to Kachgaria, Yarkand is mentioned as the capital.

wpe1E5.jpg (30668 bytes)
Figure was from the original Hoernle paper. Seen note below.

Conclusion

When the reading of the date as AH850/AD1446 is correct, these Kashgarian dangi were minted during the reign of Esen Buqa II (AH837-67/AD1433-62) by the Dughlat ruler Sayyid Ali, well before the establishment of the afore-mentioned Yarkand khanate supposed to be established in 1514. They bridge partly the large gap    in Kashgar’s numismatical history. Further identification of the legends, especially the reverse, might be completed by the discovery of new specimens.

 

Acknowledgements

The author is grateful to Mr. J. Cribb, Dept. of coins and medals, British Museum, for providing the photographs of the Hoernle coins.

 

References

1.Tao Zhifang (1999) An Examination of Yarkand Khanate coinage, Xinjiang Numismatics, No. 1, 19-20 (Translation by A. Akin in As-Sikka 1.1 11-14, Newsletter of The Islamic Coins Group Website)

2.Hoernle, R. (1899) Central Asian Antiquities J. Asiatic Soc. Bengal, Part 1 Extra-number 1, i-xxxii +1-44, plate II, fig. 26a-d.

3.Masson, M.E. (1960) Klad Mednych Monet XV veka iz Osha. Epigrafika Vostoka   XIII, 110-123. Maier, T. (1998) Sylloge Numorum Arabicorum Tuebingen, XVb, Mittelasien

5.Grousset, R. (1960) L’Empire des Steppes, Paris

6.Spuler, B. (1966) Handbuch der Orientalistiek, fuenfter band Altaistik, fuenfter Abschnitt: Geschichte Mittelasiens, Leiden/Köln.

7.Hayit, B. (1971) Turkestan zwischen Russland und China, Amsterdam.

[1]  Published also in the ONS Newsletter

 

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

*Home *Sign Up *Links & Resources *Early Muslim Drachm Conference *Arab-Byzantine Forum *Jim's Bibliography *Literature Want List *Classified Ads *as-Sikka *List Archive *Group Photo Album *Upload Scan *Chat Room