Collection online

imitation / coin pendant / coin

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1852,0329.423

  • Description

    Silver coin pendant or medalet based partly on Cufic dirham of Nasr bin Ahmad (913-942); Christian features of ?dove surmounted by cross; originally with riveted suspension loop, then pierced near edge.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 10thC (mid)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Diameter: 3 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Cufic
  • Curator's comments

    Comment from Kidd, Haith & Ager 'Summary Catalogue' (draft MS).
    Provenance Tartu (formerly Dorpat) area, Estonia (?); Bähr states the person who gave it to him was from the Tartu area, but that its previous owner had it as a curiosity found in Livland; Frank (1908) gives a Tartu provenance without comment, but may have had other information

    A summary introduction to the Bähr Collection of 1852
    Professor Johann Karl Bähr (1801-1869) held a chair first as the Riga Academy of Art and subsequently at Dresden. He began to form an archaeological collection of mainly Balt and Finno-Ugrian material following the floods along the River Daugava (Duna) in summer 1837, which uncovered or washed out several inhumation cemeteries of the period, notably at Aizkraukle (formerly Ascheraden) and Sigulda (Segewold).
    Violent political unrest on the Continent in 1848-49 seems to have been one of the chief reasons behind his decision to sell his collection, as well as disillusion with the debate over the significance of the material he had assembled, which gainsaid his own view that the Iron Age artefacts had belonged to the native Finno-Ugrian Livs. The collection was acquired by the British Museum in 1852 on account of perceived analogies to Viking-period finds that were being made in England.
    Although no original manuscript catalogue seems to have reached London, Bähr published an account of his excavations at Aizkraukle and Sigulda (Bähr 1850). This forms the basis of and supplements the information about findspots recorded in the register. But it still itemises only eight of the fifty or more graves that he excavated at the former site and gives only a small selection of those from the latter and the region of Daugmale. There appear to be further arrangements of objects by significant groups in the register, which possibly indicate grave assemblages that future research may be able to identify. (Barry Ager)

    See also:
    Bähr J.K, Die Gräber der Liven - Ein Beitrag zur nordischen Alterthumskunde und Geschichte. Dresden 1850, p. 54.
    Frank H, Die baltisch-arabischen Fundmünzen, Mitteilungen aus dem Gebiet der Geschichte, Liv- Est- und Kurlands 18 for 1903-1908, Riga 1908, p. 377 no. 178 p. 383 no. 178.
    Rispling G, 'Coins with crosses and bird heads; Christian imitations of Islamic coins', Fornvännen 82, Stockholm 1987, p. 77 table 2, 79, 85.
    Linberger E, 'The falcon, the raven and the dove', Birka Studies 5, Excavations in the Black Earth 1990-1995. Eastern Connections Part One: The Falcon Motif, Stockholm 2001.
    Ciglis, J and Vilcāne, A, Johana Karla Bēra Kolekcija Britu Muzejā, Riga 2012, p. 185.

    Select details from unpublished Summary Catalogue by Marion Archibald, John Kent and Nicholas Lowick, Department of Coins and Medals, British Museum. no.2863:
    Silver medaillet: Russian or Scandinavian; Christian features of ?dove surmounted by cross; based partly on Samanid dirham of Nasr bin Ahmad (913-942).'The pendant is considered by a number of scholars to be the first coin of the Rus', struck by Princess Olga around 950 in imitation of a dirham (in. litt. Dr. I. Leimus 12/11/2013).

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Marzinzik 2013 128 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G41/dc20

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1852

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    1852,0329.423

Silver pseudo-coin pendant; imitation medalet based partly on Cufic dirham of Nasr bin Ahmad (913-942); Christian features of ?dove surmounted by cross; originally with riveted suspension loop, then pierced near edge.

Silver pseudo-coin pendant; imitation medalet based partly on Cufic dirham of Nasr bin Ahmad (913-942); Christian features of ?dove surmounted by cross; originally with riveted suspension loop, then pierced near edge.

Image description

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