TODAY -

Cultural Heritage Complex
- Part 8-

By: Mutua Bahadur *


Coins

In Manipur, there were coins made of bell-metal, silver and gold. The coin was imprinted the names of the King, Queen, God of the state and the name of the country. Some of the coins were imprinted the initial letter of the name of King. The King Urakonthouba issued a coin, made of bell-metal in 7th century A.D. was the earliest coin in Manipur. On this coin a letter "Wa" was imprinted in Meetei script. The coins whichever found during the King


FIG 15




FIG 16



Garibaniwaj in 1709-1748 were imprinted the word "Mekhali" instead of Manipur. There were some coins in this period that imprinted the word "Ram". From this period it is found that the Devanagari and Bengali/Assamese scripts are used to imprint on the coin. The one face of the bell-metal coin is imprinted and another face is found blank.

There are three denominators of bell-metal coins, such as Senmakhai, Senjao, and Senpheikak. The average weight of the Senmakhai is 0.440 gm. and average diameter is 1 cm. The diameter of Senjao is 1.8 cm., and 4.100 gm. in weight and 2 mm. in thickness. The Senpheikak has 1.6 x 1.6 cm. in diameter and the weight and thickness are 2 mm. and 3.900 gm. respectively.

During the reign of the King Gourashyam (1753-1759), there were gold and silver coins of various types. The gold coin was shaped in square the value of one mohar. On this coin the words Samvat 1678 was imprinted. The gold and silver coins of the periods beginning from the King Gourashyam upto King Jai Singh alias Bhagyachandra (1759-1762 and 1763-1798) were found to be imprinted in Devanagari script.

During the time of King Labyanachandra (1798-1801), King Chourajit (1803-1813), King Marjit (1813-1819), King Gambhir Singh (1825-1834) and King Nara Singh (1844-1850), the gold and silver coins were issued. The Bengali script was used to imprint on coin during Gambhir Singh. From his period it was started to imprint Chandrabada 1043 on coin instead of Saka.

When the King Kulachandra (1890-1891) came to rule, the coins issued by the Manipuri Kings were in circulation. The bell-metal coins, which were issued by the King Kulachandra, were imprinted the word "Ku" in Devanagari and Bengali scripts. He was the last King of Manipur who had issued the coin for circulation.

OUTDOOR EXHIBITION

Megalithic Monuments

Conventionally the term megalithic is applied to that culture of rude stone monuments or large stone erection culture. There are rich megalithic monuments in various places of Manipur. The megalithic monuments, which we found in Manipur, are different in the structure. An expert team of Mutua Museum had discovered a megalithic monument having a triangular shape from a place of Head Hunting at Salangthel, (Churachandpur District) on 30 August 1987. The place is in 10.500 ms. above the sea level. There are counting marks on the Menhir.

The footprint mark engraved large plates of stone are also found at Salangthel. Some of the megalithic monuments of Salangthel are similar to the megalithic culture of cairn type that is a heap of stone found encircled by a number of stones. This circle has a diameter of 9.60 m. and has a circumference of 20.70 m. The altitude of this area is 1361 m. above the mean sea level.

The megalithic monuments are also found in the Tharon village of


FIG 17

Tamenglong District of Manipur. There are line engravings on the Menhir such as words and deeds of an able man of the village in the forms of symbols in order to keep in mind for all times. According to the tradition, all the Menhirs of this Complex were erected by the villagers after performing a grand fest hosted by a rich and able


FIG 18

person of the village. The stone was carried on the Kangpot (a kind of wooden carrier commonly used in the hill) from the far-flung places.

Cultural Integrity Pillar

This pillar is made of a big trunk of teak tree. It has 4.20 m. height, 1.65 m. diameter and the weight of 660 kg. On this pillar, there are engraves which representing different groups of people of Manipur. These engraves are the designs of the cloths, musical instruments, the implements used in the dance performance, and the symbols of engraved on the frontal wall of the traditional house, etc. A joint effort of four artists took 30 days to complete this work of engraving on the pillar.

The inauguration of pillar erection ceremony was started by carrying the pillar on the Kangpot with the collective strength of the representative of different communities of Manipur. The women-folk who participated in this function witnessed the act of their co-partner. This function was organized on 7 October 2004. All the participants of this function were served with a community lunch. At the top of the pillar, there were the models of three traditional houses of Manipur.


FIG 20




FIG 21




FIG 22




FIG 23




FIG 24




FIG 25



Footprint

There is an erecting stone engraving footprint of King Chandrakriti at the Sanalok (Ukhrul District) in order to know the boarder demarcation between Manipur and Myanmar. Here, we exhibited a replica of the footprint.

Stone Inscription Pillar

This is the stone pillar which is erected in Khwairamband Market of Imphal for boundary demarcation. The stone is inscribed in Meetei script in the form of curve. This is only one stone inscription in Meetei script. We exhibited one replica of this stone.

Salai (Clan) Totem

The replica of the Paphals of different seven clans of Meetei such as Mangang, Luwang, Khuman, Angom, Moirang, Khaba-nganba, and Sarang-laishangthem are exhibited in the form of wooden engraved.

Tarung

According to the Tangkhul tradition, there is a belief system that in one's life time a man has to erect two big trees in front of the traditional house. This tree erection ceremony is performed once in the life time of an individual. One individual hosts the villagers by arranging a grand feast and erects the trees.


FIG 26



Khalong

There is a place known as Khalong on the top of the Nongmaiching hill. It was a place where the coronation ceremony of Nongpok Ningthou and Panthoibi took place. There is a practice of erecting an iron object like ladle by the Kings of Manipur. The height of the object is 45 cm. By following this tradition we prepared small mounds and erected seven ladles on seven Khalongs representing seven clans of the Meitei. The mounds turn towards the Khalong of Nongmaiching hill.


FIG 27



See an accompanying gallery on this here.

Concluded ....


Mutua Bahadur


* Mutua Bahadur contributes to e-pao.net regularly. This article was webcasted on July 25 , 2010.


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