Stamp Bulletin No. 674 Special Issue

Ancient Sri Lanka - Stamp Series

Late Anuradhapura Era


Philatelic Bureau
Department of Posts,
Postal Headquarters, D. R. Wijewardena Mawatha, Colombo 00100, SRI LANKA

The Philatelic Bureau of the department of Posts issued a set of 5 new postage stamps in the denominations of Rs.5.00, Rs. 10.00, Rs.15.00, Rs. 20.00 and Rs. 30.00 depicting the various phases and features of the late Anuradhapura period, on the 16th September 2008, as the 3rd set in the series of stamps depicting the historical heritage and features of Sri Lanka by the name of "Ancient Sri Lanka".

When investigating the currency in use the Gold Coin (Ran Kahavanu) needs special mention. This type of Rankahavanu had been in use from 8th century CE to 11th century CE. Other smaller type of coins fractional weight, have also been found.

Gold coins have been excavated at several sites of the country, and those found at excavations in Abhayagiriya are of a unique nature. During excavations done at the Pond at the Sangaramaya to the east of the Ahhayagiriya Dana Salava. ruins of an ancient factory have been found at the north western bank of the pond. Five gold plaques and 22 gold coins were found. On all these gold articles the weights have been indicated with the Sinhala syllables of the 8 - 9 centuries. The largest one carries the words "Hundred and two Kalandas". At a site to the east of the pond coin moulds made of clay used in the manufacture of coins have been found. These moulds also belong to the 9th century CE; notes and symbols on the obverse and reverse sides of the coin have been shown on the coin moulds. When the two lids are joined, there is a tiny opening in the shape of a funnel, to pour the melted gold into the coin mould.

Gold coins as well as various types of Jewellery and exemplary items relating to the manufacture of Jewelery have been discovered at the Abhayagiriya and Jetavana excavations: a whole lot of unfinished gold articles of a Jewelery manufacturer have been found in a metal container in the shape of a mango, at Abhayagiriya premises. Gold chains and a chain of an excellent quality made of gold thread were some of the items. A gold bangle with delicate carvings and two foot ornaments have been found at Abhayagiriya. At the Jethawanarama Complex too, parts of gold Jewelery with delicate carvings have been recovered. Some scholars state that they are ornaments used for Bodhisatva statues. Apart from such Jewelery items the Anuradhapura excavations have brought to light, clay beads, glass beads, beads made of carnelian in large quantities. These items bear ample proof pertaining to the artistic talents and skills of the then artists.

Rs. 5.00 Ancient Sophisticated Technology and Technique: Medieval Gold Coin, its mould and gold ingot used for manufacturing gold coin

Ran Kahavanu is a type of coin used in Lanka from 8th century CE to the 11th century CE. Half (1/2) of the Kahavanu was identified as Ada Kahavanu and quarter (1/4) of the Kahavanu was identified as Deaka alias Palaya and eighth (1/8) of the Kahavanu was identified as Aka Information gathered reveal that the Aka coin had been in use up to almost the 15th century. Many theories have been raised with regard to symbols and words on the obverse and reverse of the coins. The date of issue or the name of the king are indicated on these coins. The coins have been manufactured by pouring melted gold into a clay mould made in the form of two lids.

Several lumps of gold recovered at the Abhayagiriya excavations are identified as "Gold tablets" (Swarna Palaka Pinda). The weight has been indicated in Kalanda the weight of a Kahavanu. The recovery of twenty two Kahavanu along with five "SwarnaPalakaPinda" (Gold Tablets) confirms that these lumps had been used in the manufacture of gold coins.

Details of the Issue

Date of Issue 16th September 2008
Denominations Rs.5.00
Designer Basil Coory (5.00)
Stamp Size 60mm x 30mm
Format Horizontal
Printing Process Offset Lithography
Sheet Composition 8 Stamps per sheet
Perforations 12
Printers Department of Government Printing, Sri Lanka
Colours (used) 4 Process Colours
Paper 102 gsm. Security Stamp Paper
Quantity Printed Rs. 5.00 - 1,000,000

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