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Umayyad Caliphate, probably Damascus, 116 AH / 734 AD. The gold coin of circular shape, with three lines of inscription in kufic surrounded by a band of inscription in kufic to each side. The coin was found in South Vietnam.
Inscribed on one side with a form of the shahadah and a version of Qur’an, sura IX (Al-Tawbah), part of verse 33 with the added, ‘Muhammad, the Messenger of God’, and on the other with part of the 112th sura (Al-Ikhlas) as well as the year of coining, 116 AH, corresponding to the year 734 AD.
Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik was the tenth Umayyad caliph who ruled from 724 until his death in 743. Hisham was a great patron of the arts, and also encouraged the growth of education by building more schools, and perhaps most importantly, by overseeing the translation of numerous literary and scientific masterpieces into Arabic.
Provenance: Ex-Collection of The Zelnik István Southeast Asian Gold Museum. Institutional art collection in Belgium, acquired from the above.
Condition: Very good condition with minor traces of age and wear, few small dents and nicks, as well as soil encrustations.
Weight: 4.2 g
Dimensions: Diameter 1.9 cm
Published: Gold Treasures of the Cham Kingdoms from the Collection of Dr. Zelnik Volume 2, no. 92 (page 129), Budapest 2008.
Literature comparison: Giulio Bernardi, Arabic Gold Coins Corpus, Trieste, 2010.
A similar but later coin from the reign of Harun al-Rashid was sold by Bonhams London (New Bond Street) in Islamic and Indian Art on 11 June 2020, lot 51, for GBP £7,562.
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