Q.1. How do you justify the view that the level of excellence of the Gupta numismatic art is not at all noticeable in later times? (150 words) – UPSC Mains GS Paper 1, 2017
The Gupta period is regarded as the greatest phase of ancient Indian culture. India has achieved significant advances in science, technology, art, and architecture. This also includes “Numismatic Art.”
Gupta coins are some of the most exquisitely crafted coins from ancient India, with amazing creative elements. They differ from coins made during the reigns of other dynasties on the following counts:
- The fineness of the diversity of figures carved on both faces of the coin, as well as its smooth and even wedges, demonstrated extraordinary craftsmanship.
- Detailed carvings included Chandragupta riding a horse, Samudragupta playing a Veena, the Goddess Lakshmi, and a sacrificial horse for the Ashvamedha rite, among other things.
- In addition to these exquisite pictures, there were inscriptions, which frequently added details of the image written on the coin.
- Additionally, most of the Gupta dynasty’s prominent monarchs are now thought to have had various coin-types during their reign, with older designs being rejected and fresh patterns being accepted.
During the post-Gupta period, not only did the quality of gold coinage deteriorate, but so did the number of gold coins issued. Coins during the Sultanate period were simpler, less artistic, and not made of gold. Similarly, the coins issued by the Tughlaq dynasty and afterwards by Sher Shah were not composed of precious metals. Such coins were not accessible throughout the Mughal or British periods.
Due to systematic economic distresses, artisans manufacturing high-quality coinage in towns were forced to relocate to the countryside, resulting in a drop in craft output and the deterioration of townships. Without urban centers and foreign trade, and with increasing decentralisation of political power which had resulted from the urban to rural migration of artisans, The excellence of Gupta numismatic art could not be sustained or recreated in subsequent times.