Khotan lead coin
December 03, 1999
Obverse: Yu Fang - a contraction of the inscription:|
 - Yu [Tian] (Khotan)
[ ?] - Fang [Qian] (ruler's name)
Size: 26.2 mm
Weight: 5.5 g
Dr. T.D.Yih (30-Aug-99):
I am not quite convinced your piece is genuine. It should be a lead coin with at the obverse along the rectangular hole a raised rim.
This coin is one of the two cast lead pieces from the British Museum reported to be found in the Khotan area. The obverse has on either side of the rectangular central hole from right to left the legend Yu Fang. The central hole has a raised rim. The reverse is blank. The reverse has a raised outer and inner rim. Weight 17.5 g.
The legend Yu Fang is considered to be a contraction of the name of Fangqian, a king of Khotan ruling from AD 129-130 and Yu Zhi (i.e. Khotan). Apparently this king also issued well-known sino-kharosthi horse-coins, since the character "fang" also occurs on some of them.
This king is reported to have rebelled in AD129 against the Chinese who just 2 years before had re-established Chinese influence and brought to end a period of Kushan political control. In 132 Khotan was attacked by Kashgar and brought again under Chinese control.
Except from the reports of the British explorers Hoernle and Stein, a similar lead piece with oblong central hole (diameter 23 mm) has also been obtained by the Swedish Eastern Turkestan explorer Sven Hedin.
More recently some more lead coins have been discovered in the Khotan area. They appear to exist in small and big specimens, diameter 25 and 16 mm, respectively; weight 6.5 and 1.3 g (Qian Boqan, 1998). Moreover, there was one specimen with a different legend.
David Jen, ANS (31-Aug-99):
I hope this helps. The coin is not in the Xinjiang Numismatics book, but it has been published in China Numismatics.
Andrew Turner, (13-Dec-99):
Any additional information highly appreciated.
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