Coin of Giyath al-Din Kay-Khosraw II (reigned 1237-46)

Historical period(s)
Saljuq period, 1244 (641 A.H.)
H x W x D: 2.1 x 2.1 x 0.1 cm (13/16 x 13/16 x 1/16 in)
Credit Line
Anonymous gift in honor of Lora and Ralph Redford
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Exchange Media, Metalwork


Saljuq period (1037 - 1300), Turkey

To 1998
Private collector, acquired in Syria, to 1998 [1]

From 1998
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, given by a private collector in 1998


[1] According to Provenance Remark 1 in the object record.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Dr. Scott Redford


With the Arabic language as one of the most ubiquitous symbols of Islam, the script also became the principal element on coins, which served to represent the authority of the Islamic dynasties. Upon accession to the throne, each ruler considered it his royal prerogative to strike a coin in his name, thus affirming his new power and status. In addition to the king's name, the date, and place of the mint, most medieval Islamic coins also carried the shahada (the profession of faith: "there is no God but God and Muhammad is the Prophet of God").  

While most coins were relatively simple in design and relied primarily on writing as their decoration, others were more elaborate and combined words and images, as is evident from the silver coin on view. This thirteenth-century example is embellished with a depiction of a lion and a sun, probably representing the constellation Leo--an auspicious sign for Kay-Khusraw II, the Saljuq ruler of Anatolian Turkey in the thirteenth century. 

Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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