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Dirham of Ghiyath al-Din Kai Khusrau II (r. 1239–46); Astrological Device (Sun-Lion)

Object Name:
dated A.H. 638/ A.D. 1240–41
Turkey, Konya
Diam. 7/8 in. (2.2 cm) D. 1/16 in. (0.2 cm) Wt. 0.1 oz. (2.8 g)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Joseph H. Durkee, 1898
Accession Number:
Not on view
Gold and silver coins were considered high-value money, used and traded over long distances. It was the principal form of currency used by high-ranking officials to pay land tax or iqta‘ (revenue from grants of land). In Rum Seljuq lands very fine dirhams and a few gold coins were minted. They are exceptional in Islamic coinage for the presence of figural imagery. The two main themes are the astrological sun-lion, such as on this coin and the equestrian, embodiment of power and control and a symbol of an ideal ruler in the Great Age of the Seljuqs.
Inscription: Inscribed in Arabic, in kufic on the obverse field:
السلطان الاعظم/غياث الدنياوالدين/كيخسرو بن كيقباد
Al-Sultan al-A‘zam / Ghiyath al-Dunya wa-l-Din / Kay
Khusraw Kay Qubad.
In naskhi on the reverse field:
الامام المستنصر بالله امير المؤمنين
Al-Imam al-Mustansir bi-illah amir al-Mu‘minin. / This
dirham was struck in Konya.
On the reverse margin:
سنة ثمان ثلثين ستمائة
In the year 638
Joseph H. Durkee, New York (until d. 1898; bequeathed to MMA)
Canby, Sheila R., Deniz Beyazit, Martina Rugiadi, and A. C. S. Peacock. "The Great Age of the Seljuqs." In Court and Cosmos. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. no. 14b, pp. 66-71, ill. p. 66 (color).

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