MODERN ASIAN STUDIES REVIEW Vol.5 新たなアジア研究に向けて5号
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money among a range of non-elite groups, from agriculturalists and merchants to bankers and moneylenders. Monetary usage is clearly a major part of political culture, but it also possesses a more purely economic component that often pits the interests of society against those of the state. Accordingly, it is imperative to study the coinage of a given state not simply as a political artifact designed to communicate the state’s self-understanding, but also as a circulating medium that changed hands and facilitated economic transactions, even in ways that went beyond the intentions and expectations of the issuing authorities.The founding of the Vijayanagara and Bahmani states in the mid-14th century witnessed the concomitant establishment of two distinct currency systems in the Deccan: the one, Vijayanagara’s adaptation of an established Indic system dating back to the late tenth century in the Deccan; the other, the Bahmanis’ adaptation of the Persianate system of north India used by the Delhi Sultanate. Each of these two currencies had its own norms for coinage metals, metrology, and purity. Each also had a set formal typology, with Vijayanagara issues featuring images of Hindu deities on the obverse and the king’s titles in Sanskrit on the reverse, while Bahmani issues were aniconic and featured the names and titles of the issuing sultan, written calligraphically in Persian on both obverse and reverse. Considered in the abstract, as numismatic devices designed to convey messages of authority and legitimacy, the two coinage systems appear to be natural expressions of the Sanskrit and Persian cosmopolises represented by the Vijayanagara and Bahmani states.Analysis of the respective circulation patterns of the two coinages complicates matters, and demonstrates that currency spheres are not necessarily congruent with the political boundaries of the states that issue the currency. From my analysis of over 300 reported coin hoards, it is clear that the Persianate currency of the Bahmanis and their successors was restricted in circulation to an area closely approximating the territorial extent of the Bahmani state, while in contrast, the Sanskritic coinage of Vijayanagara enjoyed circulation throughout the entirety of the Deccan region, including the Bahmani territory all the way up through Maharashtra. This was evidently due to a high demand̶especially in rural, agricultural contexts̶for the relatively small gold coins of Vijayanagara known as varaha or hon (minted at 3.672gm) and their fractional denominations, since gold coins of similar weight, purity, and fabric had customarily been used to pay agricultural taxes throughout the Deccan since the late tenth century. The Vijayanagara gold hon circulated in such great numbers in the Bahmani territory̶outnumbering the locally produced Bahmani gold coins, as we shall see, by a factor of 9 to 1̶that it became a crucial part of the Bahmani economy. Indeed, by the opening years of the sixteenth century, epigraphic evidence shows that agricultural and commercial taxes within the Bahmani territory were being assessed and collected in Vijayanagara-issued hons. And when Vijayanagara finally fell at the hands of a coalition of Bahmani successor states in 1565, these successor states began minting their own hons to augment the rapidly diminishing money supply.This case of complementarity between the two coinages shows vividly how everyday economic activity, manifest in the actions taken by individuals from a wide range of non-elite groups, contributed to the convergence between Sanskritic and Persianate cultures of statecraft in the Deccan. Agriculturalists and other rural classes̶who after all consitituted the majority of the Bahmani population̶preferred the coins of a weight, purity, and appearance that had been locally in use for centuries, instead of the unfamiliar and inconveniently sized coins issued by their rulers. Bankers and moneylenders (shroffs) satisfied this demand by withdrawing Bahmani gold coins and taking them to Vijayanagara mints, where they were melted down and restruck to the Vijayanagara standard before being returned to circulation. The ruling elite, from the time of Muhammad Shah Bahmani to Muhammad ‘Adil Shah, attempted to stop this subterfuge, but the economic forces were too strong and the result was this vivid example of Sanskritization of the Persianate currency system.066MODERN ASIAN STUDIES REVIEW Vol.5

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