• Art of the Islamic and Indian  auction at Christies

    Sale 7751

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    6 October 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 15

    A GHAZNAVID CAST GILT BRONZE MEDALLION IN THE NAME OF ABU SHUJA' FARRUKHZAD BIN MAS'UD (R. 1052-59 AD)

    STRUCK IN GHAZNA, AFGHANISTAN, DATED AH 444/1052-53 AD

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A GHAZNAVID CAST GILT BRONZE MEDALLION IN THE NAME OF ABU SHUJA' FARRUKHZAD BIN MAS'UD (R. 1052-59 AD)
    STRUCK IN GHAZNA, AFGHANISTAN, DATED AH 444/1052-53 AD
    Each side gilt with a large central roundel with three lines of elongated kufic, bordered by a band of similar kufic, the borders plain, old pierced hole at top, with hanging loop, corrosion, rubbing
    2 7/8in. (7.3cm.) diam.


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    In the obverse field, the inscription reads 'Adl , al-amir al-sa'id al-malik , nasir khalifat Allah Abu , Shuja' Farrukhzad , bin Nasir Din Allah (Just, the fortunate prince, the king, helper of God's caliphate, Abu Shuja' Farrukhzad , bin Nasir Din Allah)

    In the obverse margin, the inscription reads Bism Allah al-rahman al-rahim , duriba hadha al-dinar bi al-Ghazna , sanat arba'a wa arba'in [wa] araba'a mi'a (In the name of God the merciful the compassionate , this dinar was struck in Ghazna , in the year 444)

    In the reverse field, the inscription reads la ilah illa Allah Muhammad , rasul Allah al-qa'im , bi amr Allah (no god but God Muhammad , is the messenger of God, al-Qa'im , bi amr Allah)

    In the reverse margin, the inscription is from Qur'an IX, sura al-tawba, vv.33.

    Abu Shuja' Jamal al-Dawla Farrukhzad bin Masu'd I reigned from 1052 AD to 1059 AD on the back of the empire created by his grandfather Mahmud. The Ghaznavid throne was briefly usurped in 1052 AD by Abu Sa'id Toghril, a slave commander, who was expelled by the population of Ghazna, and it is likely that this large dinar was struck a few months only after the prince recovered his throne (Clifford Edmund Bosworth, The Islamic Dynasties, Edinburgh, 1996, p. 296-97).

    Although made of bronze, this medallion states that it is a dinar with which it shares the formal allegiance to the Abbasid caliph whose name Al-Qa'im bi Amr Allah (r. 1031-75 AD) is inscribed on the reverse field. It is unlikely that this medallion had any monetary value among the high-quality gold and silver coinage which was a feature of the Ghaznavid monetary practice, but it could have copied the outsize heavy coins with broad free fields around the central panel which were in circulation at that time (M.S. Asimov, C.E. Bosworth, History of the civilizations of Central Asia, Vol. IV, p. 402).

    The gilding and the large size undoubtedly confer to this medallion a precious value that differs from that of regular coins. The Qur'anic text can also be read in the light of the historical context of Farrukhzad's throne recovery after the rebellion and it is possible that this medallion was donated to loyal courtiers as a commemorative object.


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    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    Formerly French collection purchased in late 1970s