Silver tanka of Nitichandra, King of Arakan

Kingdom of Arakan, north-west Burma (Myanmar), 8th century AD

Arakan subject to outside influences

The earliest Burmese coins were silver issues of the Buddhist kingdom of Arakan. Burma had rich resources of silver, which resulted in strong trade links with neighbouring regions. This is reflected in the coinage. The coin denomination is based on the tanka of adjacent Bengal. The design however originates from further afield, in that it directly copies the Pashupati coinage of Nepal of the sixth and seventh century.

The obverse (front) depicts a reclining bull, with a Brahmi inscription above, while the reverse shows a shrivatsa, with sun and moon above, encircled by a beaded border. The thick vertical line in the centre of the emblem represents the linga which symbolizes the god Shiva. The bull on the obverse can be identified as Nandi, Shiva's mount.

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More information


J. Cribb, B. Cook and I. Carradice, The coin atlas (London and Sydney, Macdonald Illustrated, 1990)


Diameter: 31.000 mm
Weight: 7.390 g

Museum number

CM 1984-5-10-1



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