Friday, October 26, 2007

The Gaden Tangka Of Tibet ( Coinage And History Series)

This is part of an ongoing series about coinage and history. I thought since the 14Th Dalai Lama will be visiting Canada soon it might be interesting to see a Coin from Tibet.

The coin pictured above is from 1880-1894 the following below is a description for this coin type.

Gaden Tanka Circa 1880-1894 All Classes Have the following types:

Obverse: Stylised Lotus design within circle surrounded by the eight Buddhist lucky symbols in radiating petals.

Reverse: Eight petalled flower within star surrounded by inscription broken up into eight oval frames. Inscription in Tibetan reads as: "Ga-den Pho-dang chhog-le rnam-gyal" The Golden Palace Victorious on all sides.

This Gaden Tangka I believe to be a Class B Type IV using Rhodes Classification system.

This coin is from the time of the 13Th Dali Lama a brief biography follows below in an attempt to put the coin into an historical perspective.

Thubten Gyatso (born February 12, 1876; died December 17, 1933) was the 13th Dalai Lama of Tibet. He was an intelligent reformer who proved himself a skillful politician when Tibet became a pawn in the great game between Imperial Russia, China, and the British Empire. He was responsible for countering the British expedition to Tibet, restoring discipline in monastic life, and increasing the number of lay officials to avoid excessive power being placed in the hands of the monks.

Legislation was introduced to counter corruption among officials, a national taxation system was established, and a police force was created. As a result of his contacts with foreign powers and their representatives (e.g., Pyotr Kozlov and Gustaf Mannerheim), the Dalai Lama showed an interest in world affairs and introduced electricity, the telephone and the first motor car to Tibet. Nonetheless, at the end of his life in 1933, he saw that Tibet was about to enter a dark age.

The 13th Dalai Lama predicted before dying:

"Very soon in this land (with a harmonious blend of religion and politics) deceptive acts may occur from without and within. At that time, if we do not dare to protect our territory, our spiritual personalities including the Victorious Father and Son (Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama) may be exterminated without trace, the property and authority of our Lakangs (residences of reincarnated lamas) and monks may be taken away. Moreover, our political system, developed by the Three Great Dharma Kings (Tri Songtsen Gampo, Tri Songdetsen and Tri Ralpachen) will vanish without anything remaining. The property of all people, high and low, will be seized and the people forced to become slaves. All living beings will have to endure endless days of suffering and will be stricken with fear. Such a time will come."

Furthermore, the 13th Dalai Lama went on to predict the invasion of Tibet and announced that he would die early, in order that his successor would be old enough to act as a leader for the Tibetan people at the time of this invasion. He died several months later.

I hope you find this interesting please let me know what you think any feedback would be great.


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