1891 - Medal

Kegalle, Ceylon

A large copper Medal from Kegalle in Ceylon. Probably associated with an Agricultural show in 1891.

Diameter34.9 mm
Thickness2.7 mm
Weight17.47 gms
EdgePlain Engraved
1891_kegalle_cu_obverse 1891_kegalle_cu_reverse

Obverse : Symbolic Cresent Moon and Sun surrounded by plain and dotted circle inside raised rim.
Reverse : Branches with leaves and fruit on either side intersecting at bottom. KEGALLE on top curved around center above year 1891. Plain and dotted circle inside raised rim.

Around the rim of the coin is engraved text in Sinhala. C thu na ha tha ra ko GC s ha ke ra the meaning of which is not clear.

See also general comments about these Agri-Horticultural Exhibition medals of Era 1885 to 1938 from various cities in Ceylon.

I found this Medal interesting because the symbolic representation of the cresent Moon and the Sun. The Moon is clearly not Lankan where the Moon is associated with a rabbit rather than a human face. The face however also appears on the Moon symbolised on the lower left of the national embelm of Sri Lanka which is on the obverse of modern coins since 1972. Clearly an ammusing residual of British influence on Lankan art.

The image of the rabbit which is visualised on the surface of the full moon has a Jathaka katha (buddhist folklore) associated with it. The cresent of moon points downwards towards the direction to the Sun which sets almost vertically as seen from Lanka which is close to the equator. As a child I can remember being confused by all of the pictures in nursary books which illustrated the crescent moon side ways since it clearly did not appear that way in the sky in Colombo. I can still remember when the reason dawned on me after seeing the cresent moon from a much higher latitude for the first time in 1978 in Pittsburgh.

The medal was scanned at 300 dpi and the images are displayed at 175 dpi. It was purchased from an antique shop in Kandy in 2001 December. A small silver clasp with ring attached to the top of Medal was removed by me leaving the small residual seen on the top rim of image.