1850, India. Silver "Bull & Lakshmi" Votive Tanka (Temple Token) Coin. VF-XF!
Condition: VF-XF! Mint Place: Uncertain References: Mitchiner 4729. Mint Year: 19th-20th Century Denomination: Holy Cow & Lakshmi Material: Silver alloy (uncertain, probably low purity!) Weight: 12.26gm Diameter: 28mm
Obverse: Humped bull (Siva`s bull Nandi) reclined on the ground. Inscription (Asana?) above and below.
Reverse: Siva seated facing in the lotus posture (Yoga posture known as "Padmasana"). Legend around.
Indian religious tokens were used as presentation pieces at temples and funerals, as well as gifts to friends and colleagues. Typical scenes are of Rama and Siva (hence the generic term "ramatanka" for these tokens), but other deities from the Hindu pantheon also show up. Most are of silver-washed base metal, only early issues are mede of good silver, like the one offered here. Most are Hindu, from Calcutta and Bombay, but examples for Sikhs, Muslims and even Christians are also to be found. Similar pieces in gold served as a handy repository of wealth, and would also be included in bridal dowries.
Shiva (/ˈʃivə/; Sanskrit: शिव, Śiva, lit. the auspicious one) is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. He is the Supreme Being within Shaivism, one of the major traditions within contemporary Hinduism.
Shiva is known as the "destroyer and the transformer" within the Trimurti, the Hindu trinity that includes Brahma and Vishnu. In Shaivism tradition, Shiva is the Supreme being who creates, protects and transforms the universe. In the tradition of Hinduism called Shaktism, the Goddess, or Devi, is described as supreme, yet Shiva is revered along with Vishnu and Brahma. A goddess is stated to be the energy and creative power (Shakti) of each, with Parvati (Sati) the equal complementary partner of Shiva. He is one of the five equivalent deities in Panchayatana puja of the Smarta tradition of Hinduism.
According to the Shaivism sect, the highest form of Shiva is formless, limitless, transcendent and unchanging absolute Brahman, and the primal Atman (soul, self) of the universe. There are many both benevolent and fearsome depictions of Shiva. In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash as well as a householder with wife Parvati and his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya. In his fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. Shiva is also known as Adiyogi Shiva, regarded as the patron god of yoga, meditation and arts.
The iconographical attributes of Shiva are the serpent around his neck, the adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the third eye on his forehead, the trishula or trident, as his weapon, and the damaru drum. He is usually worshipped in the aniconic form of Lingam. Shiva is a pan-Hindu deity, revered widely by Hindus, in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
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