« PreviousContinue »
Another matter to which the Society has devoted attention is Search for Sanskrit the systematic examination of SanManuscripts.
skrit manuscripts in private libraries. The importance of this
was urged upon the Local Government by the Council of our Society, with the result that two Pandits have been appointed to work in Orissa and Tirhut, respectively. The Orissa Pandit was appointed about two years ago. His work has been supervised at intervals by Mahāmahopadhyāya Hara Prashad Shastri, and it was recently inspected by Mr. Jayaswal. The Pandit bas now catalogued nearly 6,000 manuscripts including 300 of works yet unpublished, and has discovered several of considerable importance, including one of the Prākṣita Sarvasva by Mārkaņdēya. This manus
uscript which belongs to Mabamahopadhyāya Pandit Sadasiv Misra of Puri, has been lent by that gentleman to Sir George Grierson, who after photographing it has just returned it to the owner. Sir George Grierson is publishing a critical edition of this important work. Another valuable discovery is a metrical history of the Gangă dynasty which was composed in 1441 A.D. A Vedic grammar (chhandovyākarana) by one Javadāsa and a new commentary on the Rāmāyana by Hari Pandit have also come to light.
During the year which has elapsed since his appointment the Tirhut Pandit has catalogued 1,680 works of wbich 175 are unpublished. In 22 of these manuscripts the colophons contain the names of kings of Mithila. Amongst the unpublished manuscripts is a work on politics by Chandeśvara entitled Rājanīti Ratnākara which is now being edited by our Secretary. A manuscript in the poet Vidyāpati's own handwriting which recently came to light has been purchased by the Maharaja of Darbhanga. Another interesting find (in Patna) is that of a paper copy of the Bhagatata Purana dated Samvat 1146 (1188 A.D.). This is probably the oldest manuscript on paper yet discovered in India. Dr. Spooner has continued his excavations at Nalanda. He
has driven a broad trench 1,500 feet long Work of the Archeological from south to north, crossing the whole series Survey.
of stupas, which promises to lead to fresh
discoveries of inter st. It has already resulted in the discovery of a splendid stone statue of Avalokitesvara. Another find of interest is that maile by Mr. Panday at Sılempur near Hajipur of the capital of a Mauryan pillar; it is of fine-grained sandstone and consists of two pairs of bulls set back to back. Mr. Panday has also found the head of a stone lion which appears to belong to the Mauryan period and is possibly the capital of the pill'ır near Maearh in the Shahabad district which Hiuen Tsang mentioned as bearing an inscription. If so, there is hope that the pillar itself with the inscription may be found in the sa ne locality. Arrangements have r.cently been made with the Director-General of Archæology for the deputation of the Curator of the Museum to make a further examination of the traces of human habitation in the caves and ruddle drawings at Singanpur, which form the subject matter of Mr. Anderson's paper mentioned by me above, and also of some other caves which have been reported near Rhotas and Harchok. Good progress is now being made with the preparation of an archæological atlas for the province showing by ineans of conventional marks the places where ancient monuments of various kinds (prehistoric, Buddhist, etc.) are to be found.
In conclusion, Gentlemen, I would appeal once more for fresh recruits and research workers. To the archæologist, the historian, the anthropologist and the geologist alike, our province is one of the most interesting in India. There is a wide field for research, but the real workers are still very few in number, while the number of members who have contributed brief notes to the section provided at the end of the Journal for miscellancous contributions has bren extremely small. I would again invite the attention of all our members to what I said on this subje:t in my first annual address.
There is one more matter to which I must refer, and that is the fact that our Vice-President Mr. Walsh is shortly going on leave preparatory to retirement. Mr. Walsh has a high reputation as a scholar, and for many years past he has rendered valuable services to the cause of Indian research. He has done
VOL. V., PT. 1.)
a great deal of most useful wo k for our Society, and also as President of the committee of management of the Patna Museum. Mr. Walsh will leave a gap which it will be extremely hard to fill, and I think it would be well if we took this opportunity to pass a vote of thanks to him for all that he bas done to promote the welfare of the Bihar and Orissa Research Socie' y.
I.-An Examination of a Find of Punch
Marked Coins in Patna City, with
By E. H. C. Walsh, C.S.I. The 108 punch-marked silver coins which are described in the present paper, were found in July, 1917, buried in an earthen ghara in the bank of the Ganges at Golakhpur in Patna City." The ghasa was unearthed owing to the bank of the river having been scoured away, and a woman who went to bathe in the morning saw the earthen pot projecting from the remaining portion of the bank. The place where the 'ghara was found is about 15 feet below the present surface of the ground above the river bank. The ghara had become filled with earth, and the coins, when found, were all covered with a smooth dark green coating of verdigris and mud, which gave them the appearance of having been painted over with green paint, which shows, as also appears from an examination of the coins, that some of them contained an alloy of copper. They were described in the Police report of their discovery as “round thin plates (patar) resembling broken pice.” The weight of the ecins when found was Rs. 43-14-0 of which broken fragments, which were notiforwarded with the present coins, weighed Rs. 9-2-0. The weight of the present coins was therefore Rs. 31-12-0 and after the thick coating of verdigris and dirt was removed their total weight is Rs. 30-11-0. The verdigris deposit therefore weighed Rs. 4-1.0, or nearly 13 per cent. of the weight of the coins after they were cleaned. The reason for this large amount of copper is due to the fact that, apart from any proportion of alloy in the coin, several of the coins have been debased by the addition of molten copper to the original silver coin, presumably to make up for weight. That this was subsequently added is shown by the fact that it remains over the punch marks. This is particularly noticeable on coins 11, 18, 62, 75, 88 and the reverse of 104.
1 These coins are in the Bihar and Orissa Coin Cabinet in the Patoa Museum and are serials, Nos. 723 to 830, of the General Register-E. H. W.
It is known that such debasing of the coinage took place. The Artha Šāstra, which was written by Kautilya," better known as Chanakya, the Brahman Minister who overthrew the last of the Nanda dynasty and placed Chandragupta Maurya on the throne, and which gives such detailed information regarding the government and state of society in his time, refers to the different methods of debasing the currency.
In some others (e.g. No. 37), the silver appears to have been plated over copper. Theobald ? refers to a passage in the Mahavamsa quoted by Thomas l. c. Num. Orient., page 41, that Chanakya “with a view to raising resources, converted, by recoining each Kahapana into eight, and amassed eighty Roțis of Rahapanas.” He also mentions examples of purānas which had been plated with silver over copper.3
Punched-marked coins have been described by Cunningham, by Theobald, by Professor Rapson, and have been very fully discussed by Mr. Vincent Smith.?
1 Kautilya’s Artha śāstra, translated by R. Shamasastri, B.A., M.R a.s. Government Oriental Library Series. Bibliotheca Sanskrita, No. 37, Part II. Bangalore Goveroment Press. 1915.
J.A.S.B., 1890, page 182. 'J.A.S.B., 1891, page 58.
• Coins of Ancient Indis by Major-General Sir A. Cunnirgbam (C.A.I.) pages 54-63.
• Notes on Some of the Symbols found on the Punch-marked Coins of Hindustan, and their relationship to the archaic symbolism of other races and distant lands, by W. Theobald, MB.A.S., J.A.S.B., Vol. lix, Part 1, 1890, page 181; and A Revieion of the Symbols the Karshapana Coinago, described in Vol. lis, J.A.S.B., 1890, Part I, and description of many additional symbols by W. Theobald, M.X.8.L., J.A.S.B., Part 1, 1901, page 38.
• Indian Coins (Grundriss der Indo-Arischen Philologie, 1898), pages 2-3.
* Catalogue of the Cuins in the Indian Museam, Calcutta, Volume 1, pages 311.142.