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Bronze coin of Fakhr al-Din Qara Arslan

 

Diameter: 2.500 cm
Weight: 7.730 g

CM BMC OR III 329

Room 34: The Islamic world

    Bronze coin of Fakhr al-Din Qara Arslan

    Artuqid dynasty, AD 1144-67

    A fascinating and unique series of bronze coins were struck by dynasties of Turkoman origin during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, in the area known as the Jazira, 'the island' between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. Their designs come from a complex and disparate range of sources.

    The earliest coins bear Byzantine Christian imagery. This coin, struck by a ruler of the Artuqid dynasty, Fakhr al-Din Qara Arslan (reigned 1144-67), shows an enthroned Christ. Images such as this would have been circulating in the region on Byzantine copper folles. Indeed, many have been found countermarked by local Muslim rulers, indicating that their use was officially sanctioned. The Artuqid dynasty ruled the province of Diyarbakir, now in south-eastern Turkey.

    W. Spengler and W. Sayles, Turkoman figural bronze coins (Wisconsin, 1992 and 1996)

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    On display: Room 34: The Islamic world

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