Contents: 1. Introduction: coins as political and cultural documents/Himanshu Prabha Ray. 2. Roman coins in India: A re-evaluation/Himanshu Prabha Ray. 3. A tale of two dynasties: the Kshaharatas and the Satavahanas in the Deccan/Shailendra Bhandare. 4. Religious icons and money: Shiva images on Kushana coins/Rita Devi Sharma and Himanshu Prabha Ray. 5. Coinage and gender: early medieval Kashmir/Devika Rangachari. 6. Kings and coins: money as the state media in the Indian Sultanates/Syed Ejaz Hussain. 7. Muhammad bin Tughluq: a numismatic reappraisal of an enigmatic persona/Sanjay Garg. 8. The Monarch and the millennium: a new interpretation of the Alf coins of Akbar/Najaf Haider. 9. A metallic mirror: changing representations of sovereignty during the Raj/Shailendra Bhandare. 10. Conducting excavations and collecting coins: Maharaja Ranjit Singh's Kingdom/Jean-Marie Lafont. 11. Coins: some persistence issues/Indira Rajaraman. Index.
"This volume focuses on the socio-cultural connotations of coinage in terms of power, authority, and rule legitimization, placing numismatic studies in the context of cultural history. Coins function as money, because the users share cultural parameters regarding their value and acceptability. These cultural values form a continuum and are reflected in adhering to traditional designs in the old and new denominations, while at the same time introducing changes and modifications. It is this continuum that marks India's coinage tradition of over 2,500 years, with inputs from Greek and Islamic coinage systems.
An important facet of the aesthetic of Islamic kingship, for example, is evident from the silver coinage of the Bengal Sultanate, which combined intricate interdependence of religious expression, personal aggrandizement, and rule legitimacy. Coins provide insights into political power and authority, while archaeological excavations, hoards, and stupa deposits provide contexts that place coin-finds within a larger cultural milieu.
The contributors to this volume discuss this tradition from several disciplinary perspectives such as history, archaeology, economics, and numismatic studies." (jacket)