Reading between the lines

From medieval coins to colonial-era photography, we bring a diverse array of objects from our collection that reinforce the arguments made by Saubiya Chasmawala’s art

Akbar, Silver Rupee (Rupiya) of Akbarpur Tanda Mint

This silver coin was issued by Akbar and minted at Akbarpur Tanda. The coins consist of the ‘Kalima’ inscribed on the obverse and the name and title of the issuer, date and mint on the reverse. This particular coin from the Akbarpur Tanda mint is considered to be very rare, with the ‘Maltese cross’ mint… Read more »

Akbar, Silver Rupee (Rupiya) of Agra Mint

This silver coin was issued in  by Akbar, minted at Agra, and is known as the ‘Kalima type’. Inscribed on both the sides, the coins consist of the ‘Kalima’ (Islamic affirmation of faith) on the obverse and the name and title of the issuer, date and mint on the reverse. On the obverse side of… Read more »

Akbar, Silver Rupee (Rupiya) of Agra Mint

This silver coin is inscribed on both the obverse and reverse and the inscriptions appear inside a floral design motif. This qualifies it in the ‘Decorative type’ category of coin issued by Emperor Akbar. Akbar’s Ilai coins typically bore the Ilahi creed: Allahu Akbar Jalla Jalalhu. He issued silver Ilahi coins minted at Agra in… Read more »

Akbar, Silver Rupee (Rupiya) of Multan Mint

This silver coin is inscribed on both the obverse and the reverse and shows a floral design motif. The coin has a broad flan typical of a ‘Nazrana type’ coin issued by Emperor Akbar. A Nazrana coin was struck specifically for guests who wished to present it in the Durbar in honour of the Emperor.… Read more »

Akbar, Copper Tanka of Ujjain Mint

Ujjain has been a prominent urban centre stretching back to 600 BCE. In ancient India, it was one of the most important hubs connecting all the major trade routes, including those from Pataliputra (Bihar), Shravasti (Near Sopara in present-day Maharashtra) and Bharuch in Gujarat. Ujjain was the capital of power and learning, from where the… Read more »

Akbar, Silver Coin of Elichpur Mint

Elichpur has an interesting place in history. The city today known as Achalpur in Maharasthra was for long a bone of contention between a revolving group of players including the Delhi Sultans, the Mughals, the Marathas and other kingdoms. Elichpur makes an appearance in medieval texts for the first time in 1269 CE, when Alauddin… Read more »

Akbar, Quarter Silver Rupee of Lahore Mint

This quarter silver rupee weighs 2.74 grams—a silver rupee during Akbar’s reign would weigh between 10 to 11 grams. In addition, this is an Ilahi type coin, which means it’s dated in the Ilahi era as opposed to the more Hijri era favoured by Islamic rulers. Din-i-ilahi was the faith founded by Akbar in  AH… Read more »

Akbar, Silver Coin of Ahmedabad Mint

This silver coin seems to have been struck on an existing Nazarana coin. The word Nazarana is derived from the Persian ‘nazr’ and means a presentation or tribute. On special occasions, Nazaranas or Nazars were presented to the king. People would order and buy these coins from the mint when they wanted to make a… Read more »

Meet the Muse

The Issanama may be the story of Jesus, but it draws from a syncretic narrative of history as embodied by Emperor Akbar’s incredible Hamzanama folios

Akbar, Silver

After 1585 AD Akbar notably removed the inscription of the ‘Kalima’, the Mohammadan profession of faith, from the face of coins issued by him. Coins issued in this later period belonged to the Illahi Era, as they bore the Illahi credo ‘Allah hu Akbar Jalla Jalaalah’ (God is great, may His glory be glorified). He… Read more »

Map of Hindoostan divided into Soubahs

This early 19th century map illustrates the division of Hindustan into ‘soubahs’, or administrative provinces, as listed in the late 16th century Mughal text, the Ain-i-Akbari. The map’s legend distinguishes Hindustan proper, the plains of northern India under the rule and administration of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, from the independent Deccan. In the South, the… Read more »