Tangka: coin of Tibet (1763-1930); 1½ sho


Tangka, 1899-1907: Tibet

Tangka, 1899-1907: Tibet

ND (no date).

The coin with minor design changes was issued during 1840-1930 (8 main subtypes are known).

The so-called "E" type from numismatic catalogs.

In the center: a stylized lotus flower. In the outer circle: 8 petals with the image of 8 Buddhist symbols (Ashtamangala) or Eight Auspicious Signs — Endless Knot, Lotus Flower, Victory Banner, Wheel of the Law, Treasure Vase, Pair of Golden Fish, Parasol, Conch.

8-segment figure in the center and 8 petals with Tibetan inscriptions (དགའ་ལྡན་ཕོ་བྲང་ ཕྱོ་ ལས་རྣམ་ རྣམ་རྒྱལ། — "Ganden Phodrang" /the Ganden palace, victorious in all directions/: the Tibetan system of government established by the 5th Dalai Lama in 1642; a kind of name of the Tibetan state during 1642-1959/).

  • Silver: 28 mm - 4.46 g
  • Reference price: 27$

COIN TANGKA — WHERE & WHEN (coins catalog: by names & emitents)
  1. TIBET (1763-1930): tangka = 15 skar = 1½ sho

TANGKA as coin name.
Tangka — Tibetan silver coin issued between 1763 and 1930. It was used until 1941 as the main monetary unit of Tibet (along with coins, there were also banknotes in circulation).
The tangka was divided into 1½ sho or 15 skar.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the tangka has coexisted with the srang (ancillary currency). In 1941, the srang supplanted the tangka.
Tibetan tangkas were undated silver coins weighing up to 5 grams with a pronounced ornamental design.
Although many types are known, the plot of the tangka has always been marked by a religious character. At least for the last issues, the presence of an ornament of 8 petals on the obverse, each of which contained an image of one of the eight Buddhist shrines ("Eight Auspicious Signs"), was characteristic. On the reverse, again, an octagonal figure with inscriptions in the Tibetan language was displayed. By the way, some later coins of other states practicing Buddhism had a similar plot; for example — 1 pice of Bhutan in the middle of the 20th century.
The name of the tangka coin is obviously closely connected to related terms that were used to denote the coins of a number of Asian countries: taka, takka, tank, tanka, tanga, tenge, teňňe... All of them, according to researchers, have a common origin. It is likely that one of the names appeared first, and the others were already formed from it. It is possible that the tangka coin (along with other similar ones) got its name from the concept of "tamga" — a family sign among the nomadic peoples of the East. That is, it is about Turkic origin. But there is also evidence that the word came to us from Sanskrit, which seems more logical to me... There is no unanimous opinion.
It is interesting that the term tangka (thangka) in Tibet traditionally refers to religious images on cloth, which are used as special flags in Buddhist religious ceremonies. There is even the concept of "Tibetan/Buddhist icon".