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0259 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 259 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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coins which were obtained by me from other sites, either in the course of my own explorations or through ` treasure-seekers ', this negative fact acquires significance. We may, perhaps, conclude from it that this local currency of Khotan could have had but a limited circulation outside the capital, and further that its issues could not have extended over a very long period. Is it possible to assume that its reduced convenience for transport as compared with the square-holed purely Chinese pieces had something to do with this ?

The form of the Kharosthi script as presented by these coins agrees closely with that Period of

which prevailed in India under Kusana or Yüeh-chih rule, and this circumstance has led Sin coinage.

sthi coinagege..

Dr. Hoernle to assume that the Sino-Kharosthi coins could not be placed later than the end of the second century A. D. The Kharosthi documents on wood and leather discovered by me at the Niya Site have, however, since proved that the use of the Kharosthi script in this particular form continued in the Khotan region up to the second half of the third century of our era. Similarly, the finds of Chinese records at the same site, including one dated in 269 A. D., clearly demonstrate that Chinese influence in Khotan did not cease with the close of the Later Han Dynasty (22o A. D.). Hence the question as to the terminal date of the period to which the Sino-Kharosthi coin issues belong must be kept open for the present.

Of coins representing types which in their original issues were probably earlier than this Indo-Scy-

local currency of Khotan my Yôtkan purchases contain an interesting variety. The oldest thian coins.

approximately datable one is a copper piece of Kujula-Kara-Kadphises (reproduced in Plate LXXXIX, 1), one of the earliest Kusana rulers, whose reign probably falls close to the beginning of our era 20. Kaniska, the greatest of the Kusana kings, is represented by five pieces in copper, all much worn, but one still showing the figure and legend of the moon-god MAO. It is noteworthy that Dr. Hoernle's collection also contains a relatively large number of Kaniska coins obtained from Khotan 21.

Among the Chinese coins from Yôtkan are three well-preserved square-holed pieces without Early

any legend, and, perhaps, more of the same kind among those classified for the present as Chinese


` illegible '. Of Chinese round coins, those bearing no legend belong to the earliest type. . But as the type appears to have been current under both the Former and the Later Han dynasties our specimens afford no safe chronological evidence 22. The one coin of the usurper Wang Mang bearing the' legend Hou Ch`üan (see Plate LX X X I X, ix) belongs to an issue dating from 14-19 A. D. But here, too, it must be remembered that the type appears to have been current during the period of the Later Hans as well. The same remark applies to the wu-chu currency represented by three specimens.

The well-preserved Chinese coin, bearing two characters on the obverse tnd apparently of iron, shown in Plate LXXXIX, 5, presents special interest, as it seems to be unique, and has struck Dr. Bushell as the most ancient of the whole series of Chinese coins secured by me. The distinguished Sinologist has favoured me with the following note on it : ` From style, material, and script I would attribute it to the Former Han dynasty. The first character is

certainly   yii, which I take to stand for Yü-t`ien (Khotan). The second appears to be an
archaic form of tj fang, meaning " territory, quarter ", &c. This with some reserve—at first I thought it might be a form of A lzsien, which used to be written TX, but the middle transverse stroke is wanting. The coin is unknown to Chinese numismatists, and must be of local mintage, like the interesting wu chu piece figured in Mission Dutreuil de Rhins, iii, p. 132.'

20 Prof. Rapson refers for this coin to Cunningham,   2' See Report on C.-A. antiquities, i. pp. 27 sq.

Num. Chron., 1892, Pl. IV. 9. Regarding Kujula-Kara-   22 See Hoernle, loc. cit., i. p. 18.

Kadphises, see Rapson, Indian Coins, p. 17.