Silver damma of Mihira Deva / Mih, Multan, ca. 712-856 AD - Sun-temple issue from Multan?; Ummayad and Abbasid governors of Multan, among the first Islamic coins in India!

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Three dots, stylized Brahmi "Sri" above, Brahmi letters "Ta" and "Pa" in fields, below Lillah Mih in arabic / Brahmi legend "Sri Mi Hi / Ra De Va". 11mm, 0.60 grams. Unpublished and very rare.

On this type the name written in Brahmi - Lord Mihira Deva (a completely Hindu name) seems to be repeated on the reverse and "In Allah Mih" ("Mih" almost certainly a short form of "Mihira"). It is possible that a local Hindi ruler embraced Islam (based on "Lillah"...) but issued coins under his old name as well. Interestingly, "Mihira" means "Sun" - probably a reference to the giant and famous sun temple in Multan  After the conquest of Multan by Umayyad Caliphate in 8th Century AD, under Muhammad bin Qasim, the Sun Temple became a source of great income for the Muslim invaders. Muhammad bin Qasim 'made captive of the custodians of the budd, numbering 6000' and looted its wealth, sparing the idol — which was made of wood, covered with red leather and two red rubies for its eyes and wearing a gem-studded gold crown — 'thinking it best to leave the idol where it was, but hanging a piece of cow's flesh on its neck by way of mockery'. This coin, with it's reference to "Mihira" in both Hindu and Muslim context, might be a link to these events.

These coins are derived from the earlier "Sri Tapana" pre-Islamic Multan coins we also sell on the website. These probably have the destinction of being among the very first Islamic coins struck in India. These early Islamic types were first discovered some 10 years or so ago, and were never properly studied or published. They are often attributed to the Habbarid rulers of Sindh and Multan, but the names on these coins do not correspond to the names of the known Habbarid rulers, and these coins are probably . I am currently working on an article on these coins which will be hopefully published in this summer's issue of JONS.