Stone Seal - Lanka

Ruhuna - Life Symbol

A small seal carved on with an engraving that resembles the Egyptian Ankh (life symbol) on its flat face. Found in Hambegamuwa Vihara building site, in Ruhuna, South East Lanka.

Diameter15.7 mm
height9.9 mm
Weight2.56 gms
ruhuna_life_seal_base ruhuna_life_seal_upper
Base : Life symbol incuse at center of on flat smooth stone surface
Upper : No markings. slightly rougher surface than the flat surface
Side : Semi-Sphere slightly pointed on top.

A natural stone pebble was either cut or broken in half, the inside surface smoothened and the Symbol carved on it.

In Codrington (page 18) he describes many Symbols that appear on Ancient Lankan Coins.
(1) An isosceles triangle base uppermost, with a short horizontal line crossing the apex and a short vertical line pendent therefrom.

It looks to me like the Egyptian Ankh (symbol of life) but that typicaly has a loop on top rather than a triangle. I guess a triangle could also be used to represnt the feminine part of this Symbol.

The lead coin has this symbol above a walking lion and defines the orientation as used in ancient lanka.

In the 1999 catalog by Osmund Bopearachchi and Rajah Wickramasinhe titled Ruhuna. An Ancient Civilization Re-visited , they are listed under Seals (J.1-J.29), most of them of Terracotta, and and four in stone like this specimen. It was obtained from the same collector who provided most of the items for that book.

Ed Hohertz sent reference to the Symbol being found on Indian Tribal Coins struck by the Yaudheyas. Identified with a Yupa the projecting lines on the two sides being the post for fastening of sacrificial animals.

In coins from the Vaisalli excavations described by Sita Ram Ray in Numismatics & Archaeology, 1987 Gupta & Jha, the copper cast coin (3 grams) #29 (600-200 B.C.) found in Baniya has this triangular with cross symbol placed on side under Elephant with a much longer rod.
Paul Murphy thinks it is a banner, as would be marched with as did the roman legions amongst many other tribes of the ancient times.

The Vaisalli copper coins are interesting in that thy have different versions of the primary symbols found on the Elephant and svastika coins. The Elephant with but trunck down, the svastika without the rail, the tree in enclosure with branches pointing up more like a Menorah (Jewish Candlestick), as found on Widow mites. , the Three heaped chitya.

The seal was scanned at 600 dpi and displayed at 400 dpi. It was obtained in 2003 May from Mr A. Ratnayaka a collector in Katharagama, Lanka.