Silver dirham coin
Rasulid dynasty, AH 784 / AD
Mahjam, Tihamah, Yemen
This dirham was struck by al-Malik al-Ashraf Ismail, the powerful sultan of the Rasulid dynasty in Yemen (reigned 1377-1400). It was struck at al-Mahjam, once an important city in the Tihamah region of Yemen on the Red Sea coast. One of the most brilliant of the Yemeni dynasties, the Rasulids (1229-1454) were Sunni Muslims and great patrons of architecture. They had good relations with the Mamluk rulers of Egypt who sent them gifts of metalwork and glass inscribed with their names and titles.
The coins of al-Ashraf and his successors (predominantly in silver) are unusual in that they bear figural designs (pictures of people and animals) and other symbols as well as more traditional Arabic inscriptions. This example shows a lion attacking a bull.
S. Album, A checklist of Islamic coins, 2nd ed. (Santa Rosa, 1998)
H. Nützel, Coins of the Rasulids, reprinted A. Kinzelbach (Mainz, D. Kinzelbach, 1987)
Weight: 1.710 g