- Tibetan tangka
"This article deals with the Tibetan currency. For the religious paintings, see
The tangka was a currency of
Tibetuntil 1941. It was subdivided into 15 "skar" or 1½ "sho" and, from 1909, it circulated alongside the "srang", worth 10 sho.
The tangka coins were minted from 1791 to 1948. They exhibit a wide array of varieties and yet maintain a consistent fabric and type.
The first tangka were struck in Nepal from 1772. These followed the Nepalese fabric and type with minor differences to assert their local origins. These debased coins, minted in Nepal for use in Tibet were extremely unpopular. In 1791, Tibetan government opened a mint and started striking the tangka. Its operations were suspended two years later but re-opened again in 1836. China opened another mint in
Lhasain 1792, where the minting of the Sino-Tibetan tangka continued till 1836. These Sino-Tibetan tangka bear an inscription in Chinese, which says, "Ch'ien Lung Pao Tsang" (Tibetan money of the Ch’ien Lung period) on one side and its Tibetan translation on the other side.
The first indigenously minted Tibetan tangka are known as the "Kong-par" tangka. The "Kong-par" tangka were struck from 1791 to 1891. The design of these tangka remained nearly invariable for several decades. Five different types can be identified based on details of design. Total five dates are found in these coins, 13-45 (1791), 13-46 (1792), 13-47 (1793), 15-24 (1890) and 15-25 (1891). Most of these coins bear the same date, 13-46 (1792) regardless of the year they were actually struck. Two types of the "Kong-par" tangka dated 13-46 and 13-47 (1792 and 1793) were actually struck in the 1820s and 1860s. On the obverse, these coins have an inner square with the date in it. The reverse of the coins display eight auspicious symbols of the Tibetan Buddhism, which surround a lotus in the inner circle. These coins preserved a very old fabric and some issues have the "Lansa" holy script which is not yet deciphered.
The "Ga-den" tangka date from c.1850 and these were struck till 1948. Thirteen major varieties in design have been catalogued. In all, there are at least 37 known minor varieties, but possibly 50 or more that could be noted. The obverse of the coins show eight auspicious symbols of the Tibetan Buddhism: umbrella of sovereignty, two golden fish of good fortune, amphora of ambrosia, lotus, conch shell, emblem of endless rebirth, banner of victory and wheel of empire. These are usually arrayed around a central lotus. Their actual order and specific designs varied over time. The two sides of the coin have the same orientation. Starting from the top, the legend in Tibetan on the reverse says: "dga'-ldan pho-bran-phyod-las-rnam-rgyal" (The Palace of "Ga-den" is victorious in all directions). The legend is written in such a way as to fit into eight circles. These are actually derived from an earlier style in which the characters were inside lotus petals.
Mints and metals
The earliest known series of the tangka (Sino-Tibetan) were struck in the Lhasa mint from 1792. Later, six mints issued the Tibetan tangka in volume: Dodpal, Giamda, Dode, the Tip Arsenal, Ser-Khang and Tapchi. In 1881, an edict was issued ordering that no discrimination to be made between the fake and the genuine tangka, thus the unofficially struck coins also became the legal tender. Differences in type and fabric of these coins are minor and there are no mintmarks. The "Kong-par" tangka bear dates but the denomination is not mentioned on it. The "Ga-den" tangka do not bear any date. Initially the coins were minted in silver, but later these were minted in billon. Billon 2 tangka were issued by Dodpal mint once in 1912, whose design was similar to the "Ga-den" tangka.
Banknoteswere issued between 1912 and 1941 in denominations of 5, 10, 15, 25 and 50 tam (tangka).
*numis cite SCWC|date=1991
*numis cite SCWPM|date=1994
Postage Stamps of Tibet
Standard numismatics external links
world_coin_gallery_1_url = Tibet
world_coin_gallery_1_name = Tibet
banknote_world_1_url = Tibet
banknote_world_1_name = Tibet
gfd_1_url = Tibet
gfd_1_name = Tibet
show_gfd_excel = Y
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