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The Coin Galleries: UJJAIN (page 3), animal series
This page authored by Wilfried Pieper

The most frequently seen animals on Ujjain coins are the bull, elephant, horse and lion, which occupied important places in the daily life and artwork of the people of India throughout the ages. The rich coinages of Ujjain present these animals sometimes in a simple form, in other cases in artistically high grade executions. Before opening the coin gallery a few words may be said on the symbolism and the extended meaning these animals carry.

BULL: The bull's domestication was an important step in the agricultural development of most ancient societies. In the case of India outstanding depictions of bulls had been engraved in prehistoric time on rocks and caves and later during the third and early second millenium BCE in outstanding form on many objects from Indus valley civilisation sites such as Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. On early Indian coins, i.e. on some Mauryan karshapanas and certain local Deccan punchmarked types, we find the interesting depiction of yoked bulls drawing a ploughshare. The bull's vital role for human society, its strength, fertility and power soon raised it into a mythical and religious context. Best known and well documented is the bull's association with the Hindu god Shiva serving as this god's vahana (mount) in the form of the magnificent bull Nandi, the son of Surabhi and Kasyapa. Its inclusion into religious and divine spheres soon secured the bull and cattle in general special respect, adoration and inviolability in Hindu society.

On the coins of ancient Ujjain the bull is mostly standing or walking to the right. Characteristically there are some associated symbols placed above the animal, among which the svastika, taurine, Indradhvaja, six-armed symbol, chakra or Ujjain symbol are the most frequently encountered, whereas other symbols such as vase or three-arched hill are rarely seen in association with the bull. In many instances the bull is facing a railed tree or very occasionally a railed yupa which is placed on the right.

ELEPHANT: The elephant was adored by Buddhists, Hindus and Jains. Even if the white elephant Airavata is mentioned as having been ridden by thunderbolt-wielding Indra it cannot be taken as Indra's vahana in the same close association as the bull is linked to Shiva. Indra rides Airavata when defeating Vrta, who appears as a dragon or huge snake causing drought by blocking the course of the rivers. Airavata sucks up the waters of the underworld and sprays them  into the clouds, so that Indra can cause them to rain down thus ending the terrible drought on earth. This mythical story also emphasizes the elephant's close link to water and rain which is amply illustrated in abisheka depictions of elephants anointing the goddess Lakshmi. The elephant was used as a pack-animal and abused as a devastating weapon of war and in its power and matchless strength regarded as a symbol of royal authority. Its grandeur and noble character impressed people throughout the ages and diverse cults developed around it. One amongst many others is the famous story of Buddha entering the whomb of his mother Maya in his last incaarnation in the form of a white elephant.

LION: The outstanding position of the lion in Indian life, culture and art is vividly illustrated by the national Indian emblem, an adaptation of the lion capital of Ashoka at Sarnath (near Varanasi in UP) which is crowned by four lions standing on an abacus decorated with a frieze depicting an elephant, horse, lion and bull. In Buddhism lions are depicted as dharma protectors supporting the throne of lord Buddha and of bodhisattvas (followers of Buddha striving for enlightenment) - symbolizing consistency, strength and wisdom. In Hindu mythology the lion appears as one of the avatars (personifications) of the god Vishnu. There was no threat and no enemy the 'king of the animals' had to fear and hence the lion's majesty and royalty are easily understandable attributes.

HORSE: The very important role the domesticated horse has always played in human society is self-evident. Horses, sometimes with wings and sometimes without, also had their parts in the myths of people all over the world. Uchchaihshravas, the legendary white, winged horse of Hindu mythology emerged from the ocean and was taken into heaven by Indra. Having removed its wings to prevent it from flying away Indra presented the horse to mankind. Speed, freedom, grace  and beauty are attributes that immediately come to mind when thinking of horses. Depictions of horses drawing a chariot are known but extremely rare on coins of ancient India. There are 'horse type' coinages like the Malayaman, the Hiranjaka or the Suktimati coins where the horse occupies the dominant and largest element of the coin design. On the coins of Ujjain, however, the horse is rather a coequal part of a multi-symbol design.

Even a short comment on horses on Indian coins cannot conclude without mentioning the Vedic Ashvameda (horse-sacrifice) ritual. This unusual ceremony was the exclusive privilege of a king and was performed to celebrate a great victory or other very special event. The stallion, carefully chosen from the flock of the king, was set free to roam around for the time of one year during which it was followed by the king's army. Then the horse was brought back to the king's residence and the ceremony was performed. In its course the horse was tied to a sacrifical post and after a series of different rites, in which a great number of diverse animals were involved, the horse was slaughtered. Only very few ancient Indian kings such as Pushyamitra Sunga and Samudragupta are historically documented to have performed the Ashvameda ceremony and in the case of Samudragupta some famous gold coins bear witness to this event.  Other claims to Ashvameda depictions on ancient Indian coins are mostly unbased or at least too unspecific to be sure about the depicted scene.

UJJAIN, bull types

ujjain324

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/12 karshapana, bull type
Weight: 0.68 gm., Diameter: 8 mm.
Obv.: Bull to right, taurine above, railed tree on right.
 Rev.: Double-orbed Ujjain symbol.
Reference:  Pieper 324 (plate specimen)

ujjain323

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/6 karshapana, bull type
Weight: 1.49 gm., Diameter: 11mm mm.
Obv.: Bull to right, chakra above, railed tree on right, river below.
Rev.: Ujjain symbol with a shrivatsa in each orb.
Reference: Pieper 323 (plate specimen)

ujjain327

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/8 karshapana, bull type
Weight: 1.14  gm., Diameter: 10x8 mm.
Obv.: Bull to right.
Rev.: Ujjain symbol.
Reference: Pieper 327 (plate specimen)

ujjain328

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/8 karshapana, bull type
Weight: 0.95 gm., Diameter: 10x9 mm.
Obv.: Bull to right, Ujjain symbol and svastika above.
Rev.: Multiple Ujjain symbols, svastika in field.
Reference: Pieper 328 (plate specimen)

ujjain329

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/12 karshapana, bull type
Weight: 0.75 gm., Diameter: 10x9 mm.
Obv.: Bull to right, svastika flanked by two taurines on top; taurine
         on right.
Rev.: Ujjain symbol with a taurine in each angle.
Reference: Pieper 329 (plate specimen)

ujjain330

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/16 karshapana, bull type
Weight: 0.62 gm., Diameter: 8x8 mm.
Obv.: Bull to right, svastika, Indradhvaja and taurine on top.
Rev.: Double-orbed Ujjain symbol.
Reference: Pieper 330 (plate specimen)

ujjain331

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/8 karshapana, bull type
Weight: 0.85 gm., Diameter: 11x10 mm.
Obv.: Bull to right, svastika, taurine and Indradhvahja on top.
Rev.: Ujjain symbol with a taurine in each angle.
Reference: Pieper 331 (plate specimen)

ujjain332

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/ 12 karshapana, bull type
Weight: 0.72 gm., Diameter: 9x8 mm.
Obv.: Bull to right, Ujjain symbol, vertical line and vase on top.
Rev.: Double-orbed Ujjain symbol.
Reference: Pieper 332 (plate specimen)

ujjain334

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/ 12 karshapana, bull type
Weight: 0.69 gm., Diameter: 9x8 mm.
Obv.: Bull to right with two taurines above;  dotted circle on top.
Rev.: Double-orbed Ujjain symbol with a taurine in each angle.
Reference: Pieper 334 (plate specimen)

ujjain336.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/8 karshapana, bull type
Weight: 0.83 gm., Diameter: 12x10 mm.
Obv.: Bull to right with three-arched hill above and taurine on right;
         railed tree on right.
Rev.: Ujjain symbol enclosed in 'hollow cross' with a taurine in each
         angle of the cross.
Reference: Pieper 336 (plate specimen)

ujjain337.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/6 karshapana, bull type
Weight: 1.47g, Diameter: 11x8mm
Obv.: Bull to right with long horns bent forwards; railed tree on right.
Rev.: Ujjain symbol.
Reference: Pieper 337 (plate specimen)

ujjain335.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/6 karshapana, bull type
Weight: 1.62 gm., Diameter: 11x8 mm.
Obv.: Bull to right with six-armed symbol above and railed tree on right.
Rev.: Ujjain symbol.
Reference: Pieper 335 (plate specimen)

ujjain333.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/6 karshapana, bull type
Weight: 1.37 gm., Diameter: 11x10 mm.
Obv.: Bull to right with Indradhvaja above; railed yupa (sacrifical post)
          on right.
Rev.: Double-orbed Ujjain symbol.
Reference: Pieper 333

ujjain339.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/ 16 karshapana, bull type
Weight: 0.52 gm., Diameter: 9x8 mm.
Obv.: Bull to left with Ujjain symbol above, railed tree on right.
Rev.: Ujjain symbol with thick dot inside each orb and a taurine in each
          angle.
Reference: Pieper 339 (plate specimen)
This is one of the few types of Ujjain on which the bull is standing to the left.

ujjain bull

Ujjain, anonymous AE 3/8 karshapana, bull +tree type
Weight: 3.38 gm., Diameter: 15x15 mm.
Obv.: Bull to right facing railed tree on right; Indradhvaja and taurine
          above the bull.
Rev.: Ujjain symbol
Reference: Pieper collection (compare type 340)

ujjain340.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 3/8 karshapana, bull + tree type
Weight: 3.52 gm., Diameter: 17x15 mm.
Obv.: Bull to right facing railed tree on right; Indradhvaja flanked by
         two taurines above the bull.
Rev.: Ujjain symbol with a dot in each orb.
Reference: Pieper 340 (plate specimen)

ujjain341.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/2 karshapana, bull + tree type
Weight: 4.26 gm., Diameter: 17x15 mm.
Obv.: Bull to right facing a railed tree on right; Indradhvaja and taurine
          above the bull.
Rev.: Double-orbed Ujjain symbol.
Reference: Pieper 341 (plate specimen)

ujjain342.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/2 karshapana, bull + tree type
Weight: 3.72 gm., Diameter: 17x15 mm.
Obv.: Bull to right facing a railed tree on right; Indradhvaja flanked by
          two taurines above the bull.
Rev.: Worn undertype of  Ujjain type 'vase-holding deity (Anapurna)
Reference: Pieper 342 (plate specimen)

ujjain343.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 3/8 karshapanaa, bull + tree type
Weight: 3.32 gm., Diameter: 16x12 mm.
Obv.: Bull to right facing its head towards the viewer with taurine and
         svastika above and another svastika in front of the bull; railed tree
         on right; river at the bottom.
Reference: Pieper 343 (plate specimen)

ujjain344.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/2 karshapana, bull + tree type
Weight: 4.98 gm., Diameter: 18x18 mm.
Obv.: Bull to right facing Indradhvaja above railing on right; river line
         with fishes above the bull.
Rev.: Ujjain symbol with a shrivatsa in each orb.
Reference: Pieper 344 (plate specimen)
UJJAIN, elephant types

ujjain351.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/12 karshapana, elephant type
Weight: 0.72 gm., Diameter: 8 mm.
Obv.: Elephant to right, shrivatsa above.
Rev.: Ujjain symbol with a small Ujjain symbol in each orb.
Reference: Pieper 351 (plate specimen)

ujjain353.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/ 16 karshapana, elephant type
Weight: 0.51 gm., Diameter: 9x8 mm.
Obv.: Elephant to left with Ujjain symbol above.
Rev.: Double-orbed Ujjain symbol.
Reference: Pieper 353 (plate specimen)

ujjain354.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/ 12 karshapana, elephant type
Weight: 0.67 gm., Diameter: 9x7 mm.
Obv.: Elephant to right with taurine above.
Rev.: Ujjain symbol with dot in each orb, shrivatsa in field.
Reference: Pieper 355 (plate specimen)

ujjain357.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/ 12 karshapana, elephant type
Weight: 0.69 gm., Diameter: 9x8 mm.
Obv.: Elephant to right.
Rev.: Ujjain symbol.
Reference: Pieper 357 (plate specimen)

ujjain358.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/ 12 karshapana, elephant type
Weight: 0.75 gm., Diameter: 10x9 mm.
Obv.: Elephant to right.
Rev.: Ujjain symbol with a dot in each orb.
Reference: Pieper 358 (plate specimen)

ujjain359.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/6 karshapana, elephant type
Weight: 1.38 gm., Diameter: 10x10 mm.
Obv.: Elephant to right with raised trunk, Ujjain symbol and taurine
         above the elephant; svastika on right bottom.
Rev.: Ujjain symbol with a dot in each orb and alternating taurines and
         svastikas in the angles.
Reference: Pieper 359 (plate specimen)

ujjain360.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/6 karshapana, elephant type
Weight: 1.45 gm., Diameter: 10x9 mm.
Obv.: Elephant to right with svastika, taurine and Indradhvaja above.
Rev.: Ujjain symbol.
Reference: Pieper 360 (plate specimen)

ujjain361.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/4 karshapana, elephant type
Weight: 2,54 gm., Diameter: 15x14 mm.
Obv.: Elephant to right with taurine on left and Indradhvaja on right;
          river at the bottom; fish-tank and Ujjain symbol on top.
Rev.: Ujjain symbol.
Reference: Pieper 361 (plate specimen)

ujjain362.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 3/8 karshapana, elephant type
Weight: 3.75 gm., Diameter: 16x14 mm.
Obv.: Elephant with raised trunk to right with chakra on top left;
         (railed) tree on right.
Rev.: Ujjain symbol with a taurine in each angle.
Reference: Pieper 362 (plate specimen)
A most dynamic depiction of outstanding artistic merit illustrating the unrivalled strength and power of the elephant.

ujjain364.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/2 karshapana, elephant type.
Weight: 4.65 gm., Diameter: 14x14 mm.
Obv.: Elephant to right with chakra and Ujjain symbol above; railed tree
         on right; river at the bottom.
Rev.: Ujjain symbol with shrivatsa in each orb.
Reference: Pieper 364 (plate specimen)

ujjain402

Ujjain, inscribed civic AE 1/2 karshapana, civic issue
Weight: 4.97 gm., Diameter: 14 mm.
Obv.: Elephant to right; Ujjain symbol above.
Rev.: Brahmi legend 'ujeniya'; above the legend, chakra on left and footprint on
         right; river at the bottom
Reference: Pieper 402 (plate specimen)
A rare specimen of the civic type of the Ujjaini coinage with the name of the city inscribed in bold Brahmi letters. The type is one example among a number of other civic coins of the Narmada valley which are inscribed in the name of the respective city.

ujjain403

Ujjain, inscribed civic AE 3/8 karshapana, civic issue
Weight: 3.67 gm., Diameter: 13 mm.
As previous specimen with complete legend.
Reference: Pieper 403 (plate specimen)
UJJAIN, lion types

ujjain367.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/16 karshapana, lion type
Weight: 0.54 gm., Diameter: 8 mm.
Obv.: Lion satnding to right, Ujjain symbol on right.
 Rev.: Ujjain symbol.
Reference:  Pieper 367 (plate specimen)

ujjain368.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/12 karshapana, lion type
Weight: 0.73 gm., Diameter: 9 mm.
Obv.: Lion to right, svastika above.
 Rev.: Double-orbed Ujjain symbol.
Reference:  Pieper 368 (plate specimen)

ujjain370.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/12 karshapana, lion type
Weight: 0.81 gm., Diameter: 9x8 mm.
Obv.: Lion standing to right, Ujjain symbol on right.
 Rev.: Dotted Ujjain symbol with a triskeles in each angle.
Reference:  Pieper 370 (plate specimen)

ujjain371.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/8 karshapana, lion type
Weight: 0.89 gm., Diameter: 11x9 mm.
Obv.: Lion resting to right.
 Rev.: Ujjain symbol.
Reference:  Pieper 371 (plate specimen)

ujjain374.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 3/8 karshapana, lion type
Weight: 3.54 gm., Diameter: 13 mm.
Obv. Lion standing to right, Ujjain symbol above, railed tree on right,
         river at the bottom.
 Rev.: Double-orbed Ujjain symbol.
Reference:  Pieper 374 (plate specimen)

ujjain373.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/2 karshapana, lion type
Weight: 4.93 gm., Diameter: 14 mm.
Obv.: Lion standing to left, Ujjain symbol above, railed tree on left,
          river at the bottom.
 Rev.: Ujjain symbol.
Reference:  Pieper 373 (plate specimen)
UJJAIN, other animal types

ujjain338 horse.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/6 karshapana, horse type
Weight: 1.35 gm., Diameter: 9x9 mm.
Obv.: Horse to right, horizontally placed railed tree above, vase on right.
 Rev.: Ujjain symbol with svastika in each orb.
Reference:  Pieper 338 (plate specimen)

ujjain horse.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/2 karshapana, horse type
Weight: 5.00gm., Diameter: 20x15 mm.
Obv.: Horse to right between railed tree on left and chakra on right;
         on top from left to right Ujjain symbol, Indradhvaja (and shrivatsa);
         river at the bottom.
 Rev.: Double-orbed Ujjain symbol.
Reference:  Pieper 347

ujjain348.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1 karshapana, horse type
Weight: 9.04 gm., Diameter: 20x15 mm.
Obv.: Horse to right, horizontally placed railed tree above the animal and
          Ujjain symbol below; river on the left and svastika between two
          taurines on the right.
 Rev.: Ujjain symbol with alternating svastikas and taurines in its corners.
Reference:  Pieper 348 (plate specimen)

ujjain375.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/12 karshapana, tortoise type
Weight: 0.79 gm., Diameter: 9x7 mm.
Obv.: Tortoise in square frame/tank with a crescent at each angle.
 Rev.: Dotted Ujjain symbol, one additional taurine in field.
Reference:  Pieper 375 (plate specimen)

ujjain376.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/8 karshapana, tortoise type
Weight: 0.94 gm., Diameter: 8x8 mm.
Obv.: Tortoise in square frame/ tank with a circle at each angle.
 Rev.: Ujjain symbol with additional taurine in field.
Reference:  Pieper 376 (plate specimen)

ujjain366.jpg

Ujjain, anonymous AE 1/8 karshapana, makara type
Weight: 1.17 gm., Diameter: 10x8 mm.
Obv.: Makara to right in form of an aquatic creature with fishtail and
          head of an elephant; Ujjain symbol at top.
 Rev.: Ujjain symbol with a dot in each angle.
Reference:  Pieper 366 (plate specimen)
The makara is the vahana (mount) of Ganga, the goddess of the river Ganges, and of the sea-god Varuna. Its frontal part is that of a terrestrial animal, its hind part that of a sea-creature. The depiction of a creature with fish-tail and elephant's head, like on this coin, is frequently used in depictions of a makara.
Other Ujjain pages: page 1 , page 2 , and page 4
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