A journey to search my soul

This is a blog of my personal collections. The purpose of this blog is to educate myself and public in regards to antiquities especially related to religion and calligraphy. I welcome everyone to input their feedback in this blog which they think would be helpful. I do not watermark the photos in this blog so everyone is free to use them as long as they are not used for illegal and unethical reasons. I appreciate if you could notify me if you plan to use any of the photos here. Enjoy browsing!!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Ancient Coin Review 118 : Cockerel Perched on Rings Currency of Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Abidin Muazzam Shah ( Kedah Sultanate 1710 - 1773 CE)

This is a broken off rings ( 2 rings) from a set of rings of the tin cockerels money. See picture below to understand how the cockerel money looks like.

According to The Encyclopedia of the Coins of Malaysia Singapore & Brunei, the cockerel itself worths 5 cents of the Spanish Dollar with each ring  carries 1 cent in value. The rings were broken off for a small purchase of a few cents.
This type of currency was first regulated during the time of Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Abidin Muazzam Shah reigning Kedah from 1710CE to 1773 CE. They were still in circulation till mid 19th Century.
Kedah is located in the northwestern part of Peninsular of Malaysia. The name of Kedah originated from the Sanskrit word Kadaram. It is also known by its Arabic honorific, Darul Aman ( Abode of Peace).  The sultanate was the earliest one on the Malay Peninsular as well as one of the oldest Sultanate in the world.

The kingdom began in 630CE as a Hindu Kingdom which the first king was Maharaja Derbar Raja who originally a defeated Persian king of Gemeron ( Bandar Abbas) who fled to Kedah. The people of Kedah found him to be a very smart & tactical man, so they entrusted him to lead them as the king of Kedah.
This kingdom is a Hindu kingdom however I couldnt find in any history book in regards to the faith of Maharaja Derbar Raja. In 630 CE, Gemeron is part of Sassanian Kingdom which Zoroastrian is the main religion.
Towards the end of 11th century, the 9th Kedah Hindu king, Dubar Raja II renounced Hinduism and conerted to Islam. He adpoted an Islamic name, Sultan Muzafar Shah and continued ruling Kedah from 1136 to 1179 CE. This sultanate continues to rule till today.
This mean the present Sultan of Kedah, Sultan Abdul Halim Muzaffar Shah has a direct link back to not just the first Kedah Sultan, Sultan Muzaffar Shah (1136CE) but also to the first Hindu Sultan , Maharaja Derbar Raja ( 630CE). Try to imagine someone with unbroken family lineage since 630CE till now. Unbelievable!!

Weight :TBA gm
Dim : TBA
Rarity : R
Denom : 2 cincin = 2 cents
Material : Tin
Reference : Saran's SS20d , pg 260

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Ancient Manuscript Review 204 : Antique Ottoman Era document / Letter ( 1250 AH / 1835 CE)

This is a document written in old Turkish. The document was originally folded and sealed. I couldn't figure out what type of document this is. It could be a legal document or a personal ones.  The letter is written in Riqaah script in black. It was signed and dated 1250 AH ( 1835 CE)
I don't have much information of this kind of manuscript and its writing tradition. I need to do more research on this manuscript and will update this entry later. I welcome any feedback on this letter.

My other similar document is in below link
Ottoman Letter 01
Ottoman Letter 02
Ottoman Letter 03
Ottoman Letter 04
Ottoman Letter 05
Ottoman Letter 06
Ottoman Letter 07

Manuscript Specs

Item : Ottoman document
Content :  Unknown
Dim : 220mm x 160mm
Date : 1250 AH
Copyist : indechiperable
Origin :  Turkey
Calligraphy : Riqaah
Design :
Purchased Price :US

Ancient Artifact Review 103 : Antique Samanid Era Khurasan Islamic Inscribed Glazed Plate ( 10th Century)

This is a large bowl originated from Samanid period (10th-11th Century) possibly Khurasan. This deep bowl with straight flaring wall was covered with a white slip and then glazed with a transparent colorless glaze. This white slip provided the base for the calligraphic works.
The calligraphy was executed in a black pigment derived probably from Manganese as it looks purplish when examined closely.
The decoration on this bowl is purely epigraphic using Kufi like Arabic script around the rim, simple yet quite illegible.
The Samanids ruled large parts of Eastern Iran, Afghanistan & Central Asia from 819-1005 CE. The Samanids were the first native dynasty to rule Iran after the Arab conquests in the 7th century.
In dating this bowl, I am using guidelines outlined by Volov in her article, Plaited Kufic on Samanid Epigraphic Pottery. She classified the development of the epigraphy on Samanid pottery in 3 stages. The third stage according to her the pottery decoration is purely epigraphic, almost illegible and has a "Swan's Neck Curve" feature on the inscription, dating this feature to early 11th Century.
It is very challenging to read the calligraphy on this pot, I welcome any feedback from viewers on this.
However the most typical phrases on Samanid pottery is Say : Al Jud Min Akhlaq Ahl Al Janna,  “Generosity is the disposition of the dwellers of Paradise. Good fortune.”

The tradition of decorating pottery with epigraphy is very interesting.
The art of writing on pottery was mentioned in a 10th century manuscript of Muhammad Al Washsha from Baghdad titled Kitab Al Zarf Wal Zurafa ( The Book of Elegance and Elegant People). He wrote about the list of literary epigraphy inscribed on personal items such as cups, bowls, plates, etc. Hence by the time this manuscript was written, the tradition of inscribing epigraph was already prevalent during the time of Abbasid period.
When the Samanids in power in 10th century, it seemed they tried imitate Abbasids one except with their own style.
In my previous entry, I have also written about similar tradition of decorating epigraph on Malay & Chinese pottery. See below link for further readings :
Malay Plate 01
Malay Plate 02
Qing Talismanic Plate
Qing Blue & White Plate
Blue & White Plate
Swatow Plate

Reference :
Volov in her article, Plaited Kufic on Samanid Epigraphic Pottery.Ars Orientalis 6 (1966): 107-34.
The Arts of Islam, pg 52,53