1153-1186 - Lanka

ParakramaBahu I - One copper massa

The extreamly rare copper massa coin of king ParakramaBahu I. ParakramaBahu the Great (1153 - 1186), the most outstanding monarch of the Polonnaruwa Period. A golden epoch of Lankan history.

SPECIFICATIONS
Denominationmassa
AlloyCopper
TypeStruck
Diameter19.44 mm
Thickness mm
Weight4.20 gms
ShapeRound
EdgePlain
DieAxis
parakramabahu~i_obverse parakramabahu~i_reverse
Codrington #76Mitchiner #
Obverse : Traditional Lankan massa design of standing king.
The head consists of an irregular oblong, the right side being a vertical line, from which projects three horizontal stokes representing the nose, mouth and chin. The crown bulging outwards at the back. The two curved lines on either side of the legs slightly turned upwards at the end indicate a person wearing a 'dhoti', and standing on a lotus stalk with flower to the right. The forearm is bent sharply down; the hand grasps the hanging lamp. The right side elbow is curved down with the arm turned upwards holds a flower presumed to be a jasmine blossom. To the right are five dots or spheres. A rim of 40 to 43 beads.
Reverse : Traditional Lankan massa design of seated king.
Head and crown as on obverse. Arm is raised upwards and the hand holds a conch shell. On right Nagari legend Sri Pa ra kra ma Ba hu
parakramabahu~ii_legend

In this rare coin the fork in the letter Sri on the reverse is to the left like in his one eighth massa coin, rather than the right as in Parakramabahu~ii coin which is one of six fairly common copper massa coins from the late Polonnaruwa and Dambadeniya era.

I quote from Codrington's "Short history of Ceylon" since the ancient chronicle Culavamsa becomes too verbose in this period.

Text edited from
* Ceylon Coins and Currency: H. W. Codrington, Colombo, 1924.
   Chapter VI Mediaeval Lanka - Sinhala of 12th & 13th Century - Series II, Page 70
* Culavamsa II Chapter LXXXI: Translation by Wilhelm Geiger. Pali Text Society 1930

The coin was scanned at 600dpi and displayed at 300dpi is from part of Lalith Raddella's collection I purchased in 2016 December.