Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday Stills: Currency

As an artist and designer, I find American money very boring compared to that of the rest of the world. Instead I am particularly drawn to ancient coins. It is intriguing to think about the lives and situations where this currency has passed.

Recently I have discovered Mauryan punch marked coins, where the artisan's hand can still be seen. The Mauryan Empire was one of the largest empires to rule the Indian subcontinent and their economy was comparable to the Roman Empire several centuries later since both had extensive trade connections. Jainism was the Mauryas' ancestral religion. These particular coins are from the King Samprati Dynasty around 216-207 BC.



Mauryan coins were irregular in shape made by cutting up silver bars and then making the correct weight by cutting the edges of the coin. I like the imperfection of the shapes.



These coins were patterned with tools known as punches that carried the particular designs, which included the commonly used sun and six-armed symbols, and various patterns such as circles, wheels, human figures, animals, bows and arrows, hills and trees, etc. The punch was placed over the silver, and a hammer was used to deliver the blow to make the particular indention. I use letter punches in making words in in my silver jewelry.



On the right you can see the back stamp punch mark on the coin that showed its authenticity.

For more images of Currency, be sure to visit Sunday Stills!

16 comments:

VioletSky said...

These are indeed much more interesting! I don't think I've seen deliberately irregular shaped coins before.

Maria Berg said...

Interesting that the coin were different shapes and not the same.

You wrote " I like the plant image on your money. What plant is it and what is the significance of the plant in your culture? "

The man on the bill is Carl von Linne - the man that gave ALL flowers name.
And the plant is Skogsbingel ( ) one male and one female plant - ordinary plant growing in our forrest.

From Wikipedia Mercurialis perennis, commonly known as dog's mercury, is a woodland plant found in much of Europe, but almost absent from Ireland, Orkney and Shetland. A member of the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae), it is a herbaceous, downy perennial with erect stems bearing simple, serrate leaves. The dioecious inflorescences are green, bearing inconspicuous flowers in March and April. It characteristically forms dense, extensive carpets on the floor of woodlands and beneath hedgerows.

/Maria Berg

flowerweaver said...

Maria, thank you for your comment. I should have recognized Carl Linnaeus, as I am also a botanist! I also have ancestors from Uppsala. We have an endangered wild Mercury here. It is related to the Acalypha in my post http://flowerweaver.blogspot.com/2009/10/how-to-tell-girls-from-boys.html

Stacey's Treasures said...

That is facinating!

Ed said...

Very cool, and informative.:-))

Rebekah said...

Oh how neat! I had not known about some cultures using weight instead of size/shape to make coins. I love the irregular edges, that is so cool!!

dibear said...

Thanks for sharing such interesting info on these coins. Nice job.:)

Tracey said...

Wow, those are really neat!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Interesting post.

gtyyup said...

Very interesting...yep, US currency IS boring compared to those beautiful pieces!

Ann said...

Your butterfly has a beautiful artwork.

Re: Gun placement, if I remember rightly, there were 11 of them. Some of them were commission by the Tribal leaders to an well known artist to draw New Zealand birds. The rest, the kids just sprayed graffiti. The kids just hung out there and throw parties.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Very interesting coins and information. They remind me of Native American pot shards because of their irregular sides.

~Lisa

moresecretwhispers said...

they are much more exciting than the 'norm' :) nice photos thankyou for sharing them

Nola @ the Alamo said...

The entire time I was reading this post, I was thinking, "Wow, that woudld make a great pair of earrings". Finding beauty is utilitarian objects is a real treat.

Nola @ the Alamo said...

Say... are you selling your jewelry? You mentioned an etsy shop in your past jewelry making post, but I don't find an etsy link anywhere.

thecrazysheeplady said...

VERY interesting. Definitely more fun and beautiful than our boring money.

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