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Durga as an Inspiration to Hindu Art & Sculpture

Durga is a representative of female power in Hinduism and is also identified by the Hindus as Adi Parashakti, Devi, Shakti, Bhavani, Parvati and numerous other female forms. She is a warrior goddess and the source of Hindu mythology for combating evil and demonic forces that threaten peace, prosperity and dharma of the good. Many of Hindu Art and sculpture represents her fierce role as the protective mother goddess ready to unleash her anger against evil. Given her multirole it is not surprising to see the Hindu religious artisans throughout the ages focussing their skills in depicting Durga’s power and emotions.

Some of her artistic and sculptural representations of Durga are as a goddess riding a lion or tiger, with many arms carrying weapons. Her most ferocious form of defeating Mahishasura ( buffalo demon) with its head in her hands is the ultimate display of fate of the evil demons in her hands,

Her antiquity is takes its roots in the Vedic literature, such as in the Rigveda literature and the Atharvaveda. While the Vedic literature uses the word Durga, the description therein lacks the legendary details about her that follows in later Hindu literature.

Not only venerated as a destroyer of evil but also she is equated with the concept of ultimate reality called Brahman for creation of the universe. Durga has a significant following all over India, Bangladesh and Nepal, particularly in its eastern states such as West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Assam and Bihar. Durga is revered during the festival of Navratri celebrated by Hindus all over the world.

Art and Sculpture of Durga

Princely States that were Once the Splendor of India

At the time of the British withdrawal, 565 princely states were officially recognised in the Indian subcontinent,  apart from thousands of taluqarszamindaris and jagirs. In 1947, princely states numbering 555 covered 48% of area of pre-Independent India and constituted 28% of its population.

Mysore State, Krishnaraja Wadiyar

The most important states had their own British Political Residencies:

Indore State

HyderabadMysore and Travancore in the South followed by Jammu & Kashmir and Sikkim in the Himalayas, and Indore in Central India. Gun-salutes were often given for personal distinctions of the ruler rather than the importance of the state and varied from time to time. The most prominent among those – roughly a quarter of the total – had the status of a salute state, one whose ruler was honoured by receiving a set number of gun salutes on ceremonial occasions, ranging from nine to 21. Rulers of salute states entitled to a gun salute of eleven guns and above received from the British the style of His/Her Highness; while the Nizam of Hyderabad had the unique style of His Exalted Highness.

The princely states varied greatly in status, size, and wealth; the premier 21-gun salute states of Hyderabad and Jammu and Kashmir were each over 200,000 km2 in size, or slightly larger than the whole of Great Britain. In 1941, Hyderabad had a population of over 16 million,, while Jammu and Kashmir had a population of slightly over 4 million,

Maharaja Morvi State

comparable to that of Switzerland. At the other end of the scale, the non-salute principality of Lawa covered an area of 49 km with a population of just below 3,000. Some two hundred of the lesser states had an area of less than 25 km2 (10 mi2).  At the time of Indian independence in 1947, Hyderabad had annual revenues of over Rs. 9 crore (roughly £6.75 million/$27.2 million in 1947 values, approximately £240 million/$290 million in 2014 values), and its own army, airline, telecommunication system, railway, postal system, currency, radio service and a major public university; the tiny state of Lawa had annual revenues of just Rs. 28,000 (£2100/$8463 in 1947 values, £73,360/$89,040 in 2014 values).[

Baroda State

The era of the princely states effectively ended with Indian independence in 1947. By 1950, almost all of the principalities had acceded to either India or Pakistan. The accession process was largely peaceful, except in the cases of Jammu and Kashmir (whose ruler opted for independence but decided to accede to India following an invasion by Pakistan-based forces), Hyderabad (whose ruler opted for total independence in 1947, followed a year later by the police action and annexation of the state by India), Junagadh (whose ruler acceded to Pakistan, but was annexed by India).[10] and Kalat (whose ruler opted for independence in 1947, followed in 1948 by the state’s annexation

STAMPS OF PRINCELY INDIAN STATES

New Hebrides, so named by Captain Cook in 1774 due to its resemblance to the Scottish Islands

These islands in the east of Papua New Guinea saw its first European visitor Pedro de Queiros of Portugal in 1606 followed by the Frenchman Louis de Bougainville in 1768.

new-hebrides-1967-1New Hebrides, named for the Hebrides Scottish archipelago, was the colonial name for the island group in the South Pacific Ocean that now is the nation of Vanuatu. Native people had inhabited the islands for three thousand years before the first Europeans arrived in 1606 from a Spanish expedition led by Pedro Fernandes de Queirós. The islands were colonized by both the British and French in the 18th century, shortly after Captain James Cook visited the islands.

The two countries eventually signed an agreement making the islands an Anglo-French condominium, which divided the New Hebrides into two separate communities: one Anglophone and one Francophone. This divide continues even after independence, with schools teaching in either one language or the other, and with different political parties. The condominium lasted from 1906 until 1980, when the New Hebrides gained their independence as Vanuatu.

Ceylon, Commemorative issue ,2500 years of Buddha, 5 rupee, Silver 1957 UNC

Ceylon, Commemorative issue 2500 years of Buddha, 5 rupee, Silver 1957 UNC Commemorative issue

Buddha Jayanthi 2500th Anniversary

buddha-2500-years-5-rs500,000 coins minted in 1957 of which 258,000 were melted down in 1962

 

Obverse

An adaptation from the Anuradhapura Moonstone. The numeral 2500 at the centre with Flower petals around in inner annulus, next a procession of elephant, horse, lion and bull (2 sequences). next a procession of sixteen geese, with lotus flowers hanging from their beaks.
Note:These coins are popularly referred to as the Buddha Jayanthi coins

Sandakada pahana, also known as Moon-stone, is a unique feature of the Sinhalese architecture of ancient Sri Lanka. It is an elaborately carved semi-circular stone slab, usually placed at the bottom of staircases and entrances.

Lettering: 2500

Engraver: Bernard Sindall

Reverse

A design based on the Jasmine flower surmounted by a Lotus flower. The value in Sinhalese and the year of issue 1957 is superimposed at the center. The value FIVE RUPEES in English on left and Tamil on right and in Sinhalese `Sri Lanka’ at the apex and the anniversary `Buddha Jayanthi’ at the bottom.

Lettering:
FIVE RUPEES
1957

 

Abyssinia, From Solomon to Selassie

MENELIK II
Menelik II

Abyssinia rulers take their origin from King Solomon. Menelik I, also known as Ebna la-Hakim (“Son of the Wise”[) was the first Solomonic Emperor of Ethiopia, who is traditionally believed to be the son of Solomon of ancient Israel and Makeda, the ancient Queen of Sheba. Menelik is believed to have ruled around 950 BC, and tradition credits him with bringing of the Ark of the Covenant to Ethiopia, following a visit to Jerusalem to meet his father.

King Solomon intended to send one son of each of his nobles, and one son of each temple priests with Menelik on his return to his mother’s kingdom.  Menelik is supposed to have made a replica of the Ark to take with him on his mission. Upon the death of Queen Makeda, Menelik assumed the throne with the new title of Emperor and King of Kings of Ethiopia. The Solomonic dynasty ruled Ethiopia through 225 generations, except for a few interruptions, for three thousand years.

MENELIK COINSThe Abyssinian Emperor Menelik II  (1844 –  1913) was  baptized as Sahle Maryam, his birth name being Negus of Shewa (1866–89). He was later raised to the status of Nəgusä Nägäst (King of Kings)  from 1889 to his death.  Earlier at the zenith of his rule in 1898 Menelik had expanded his territory and created a modern empire, thus restoring the ancient Ethiopia to its past glory of Axumite Empire which was one of the four most powerful kingdoms of the ancient world.

Menelik’s victory over the Italian invaders at Adwa in 1896 earned him great fame.  Colonial Italy was defeated resoundingly by Ethiopia in one of the greatest battles in the history of Africa. This victory over Italy at the Battle of Adwa  came at a time when almost all of Africa was colonized by European powers. Emperor Menelik is credited with rallying his fellow Ethiopians behind him to fight back fiercely enough so as to deliver an unimaginable victory against the so called powerful and mighty forces of a European army.

In 1889 Menelik proclaimed that the territories north of the Merab Melash (modern Eritrea) did not belong to  his  rule as the land was not peopled by Abyssinians, but by other tribes such as  Adals, Bejas, and Tigres. This is probably the reason he ceded Eritrea to the Italians.

As the 20th century approached, most of Africa had been carved up among the European powers.  But the young Republic of Liberia on the west coast of the continent and the Ethiopian Empire in the strategic Horn of Africa were still free. The newly unified Kingdom of Italy was a relative newcomer to the colonial scramble for Africa. Italy already held the African territories, Eritrea and Somalia. Both these states were in an impoverished state and in proximity to the more fertile and rich Abyssinia on the Horn of Africa.

Benito Mussolini came to power in Italy in 1922 with a grandiose intent to create a new Roman Empire and was on a predatory watch over the world including Africa. His target was Abyssinia (Ethiopia), sandwiched between two small Italian colonies  Eritrea and Somalia

SELLASIE COINAbyssinia at this time, ruled by Haile Selassie, was a member of the League of Nations, created after World War I to maintain peace by solving international disputes without resorting to war. Britain, France, and Italy were members of the League.  If a member was attacked by another country, the League was supposed to come to its aid, but in fact the League lacked the strength needed to back this mandate.

Throughout the summer of 1935, Mussolini amassed troops on the Abyssinian border, and in October 1935 he launched a full invasion’ Selassie appealed to the League for help but the League’s intervention was too slow and weak. Mussolini conquered Abyssinia, creating the Italian East African Empire.

SELLASIEThe ruler Haile Selassie was born in 1892 as Tefari Makonnen and became governor of Harar, a city in Ethiopia in 1911. In 1928 he was crowned king and ruler of Ethiopia. On November 3 1930 Selassie appeared on the cover of Time magazine as  “Man of the year” and one of the Top 25 Political Icons in history. Writing about Haile Selassie, TIME stated, the King of Kings, Conquering Lion of Judah, Elect of God. (All were used to describe Haile Selassie) ruled as Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930.

An year later in 1931 he introduced the first constitution of Ethiopia. In 1935 when Italy invaded Ethiopia after a gruesome battle for 5 years Selassie went into exile.

Finally before the fall of Italy in 1941 during the Second World War Allied East African Forces forces retook Ethiopia. On January 18, 1941 Haile Selassie marched in the East African Campaign against Mussolini’s occupation.

In 1955, in an attempt to modernize the country, Selassie granted a new constitution with more rights for his citizens. In 1963, he presided over the first meeting of the Organization of African Unity In 1972. Selassie was ultimately deposed in a organized military coup by people who were discontented with his regime. However Selassie’s contribution to African solidarity earned him fame as one of the reformists in emerging African political scene.

HISTORY OF ETHIOPIA ON COINS

Japanese Occupation of Manila and the Escalation of World War II

JAPANESE OCCUPATION MINT X 2The Japanese occupation of the Philippines occurred between 1942 and 1945, when the Empire of Japan occupied the Commonwealth of the Philippines during World War II. The invasion of the Philippines started on 8 December 1941, ten hours after the Japanese attack on the Pearl Harbour.

 JAPANESE OCCUPATION X 4 MINT 2ND SETEarlier in preparation for war, on July 26, 1941, General Douglas MacArthur had brought the 12,000 strong Philippine Scouts under his command with the 16,000 American soldiers stationed in the Philippines. Even these combined forces were poorly trained and equipped for an adequate defence of the islands against a Japanese invasion.

MACARTHUR X 4 SHEETThe attack on the Philippines was coordinated ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbour in Hawaii. As the American aircrafts were entirely destroyed on the ground, lacking air cover, the American Asiatic Fleet in the Philippines withdrew to Java on December 12, 1941.

Japanese troops landed at the Lingayen Gulf on December 22, 1941 and advanced across central Luzon towards Manila. On the advice of President Quezon, General MacArthur declared Manila an open city on December 25, 1941 and removed the Commonwealth government to Corregidor. The Japanese occupied Manila on January 2, 1942.

MACARTHUR COINThe final Battle of Manila commenced on 3rd February 1945 and was a major event in the Philippine campaign of 1944-45 during World War II, fought by the American and Filipino forces against the Empire of Japan in Manila. This one-month battle culminated in the massacre of over 100,000 civilians and complete devastation of the city. In the process of ending the three years of Japanese military occupation in Philippines (1942–1945) battle destroyed architectural and cultural heritage of the city dating back to its foundation. General Douglas MacArthur emerged as the victor in the campaign to re-take Philippines.

COINS AND STAMPS OF PHILIPPINES

 

 

Curious Coins of the World

Australia, Merino Ram

AUSTRALIA 1946 RAMA breed of sheep for wool introduced by Elizabeth MacArthur generated  £ 55,000.000 for Australia, more than any of its other resources in 1930. By 1940 Australia held the largest sheep population in the world, 123 million

Ceylon, Parākramabāhu I (reign 1153-1186), Lion Copper Massa Coin only 12 known to exist.  James Princep (1799-1840)  calls altogether a unique perverted art

parakramabahu-lion-coin-1

Paradox USA , Liberty & Slavery, Year 1800

USA 1800In year 1800 in Virginia 39.2 percent of the total population were black slaves.

Gabriel Prosser (1776-1800), an enslaved African American blacksmith elevated himself by learning to read and write. Having born into a slave family and learning to be a blacksmith he was regarded as “a fellow of great courage and intellect above his rank in life” by his mates. As Gabriel neared the age of twenty, he stood “six feet two or three inches high” with a long and “bony face, the stuff that war heroes are made of. He organized a slave revolt intending to march on Richmond, Virginia in the spring of 1800. However two of the slaves betrayed him to their owner and his plan was foiled. Gabriel paid the ultimate price for trying to free himself and his people from slavery. Gabriel turned fugitive, but not for long before he was captured and hanged with his two brothers and 23 fellow slaves. Alerted by this incident with no precedence, Virginia and other state legislatures passed several restrictions on blacks as well as prohibiting their education, assembly, and hiring out of slaves, in order to restrict their chances to learn and to plan similar rebellions. Thus was the travesty of slavery and liberty in early America.

LINCOLN 1909The spirit of liberty prevailed but not until 60 years later when Abraham Lincoln made war against slavery but he too paid with his life for his liberal views.  

Rare-coins.us

World Coins USA

Slave Trade for 350 years.
43,600 voyages.
12.5 million Africans forced aboard European and American slave ships.
10.7 million survivors of the Middle Passage disembarked in the New World.
Roughly.

Mother India: All the colors within the rays in the Sun turn to magic in the Rainbow.

INDIA mapsAll the colors within the rays in the sun turn to magic in the rainbow. Together these shades join to light the world, feed the plants and give meaning to day and night so that man can toil and rest. Without the sun there would be no day. But he too must take rest, hence the moon to sooth us from the demands of the Helios. India is the sun with all its shades of culture, language and religions blending as one to make India what it is today.  Pregnant with 54 clans and tribes it is a wonder that the mother India holds herself self together to challenges within herself and from the outside.

VISIT INDIA 

José Martí, the National Hero of Cuba

José Julián Martí Pérez (January 28, 1853 – May 19, 1895), popularly known as Jose Marti, is a Cuban national hero and revolutionary as well as writer in Latin American literature. His writings and political activity, became a symbol for Cuba’s bid for independence against Spain in the 19th century, He wrote about the cuba-1935-1threat of Spanish and US expansionism into Cuba. The Spanish-American War put an end to the European threat but risk still remains from the USA. José Martí was killed in battle against Spanish troops at the Battle of Dos Ríos, near the confluence of the rivers Contramaestre and Cauto, on May 19, 1895. After his death, one of his poems from the book, “Versos Sencillos” (Simple Verses) was adapted to the song “Guantanamera”, which has become the definitive patriotic song of Cuba.

Coins and Stamps of Cuba