Научная статья на тему 'Pre-muslim coins and treasures from the collection of the Bukhara state museum-reserve (numismatic review)'

Pre-muslim coins and treasures from the collection of the Bukhara state museum-reserve (numismatic review) Текст научной статьи по специальности «История и археология»

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museum / treasure / coin / collections / date / preservation / minting / museum / excavations

Аннотация научной статьи по истории и археологии, автор научной работы — Izzatullo Khusenovich Shoyev

The article is devoted to the review of one of the significant numismatic collections of Uzbekistan: the Bukhara State Museum-Reserve. The authors give a brief history of the receipt of pre-Muslim treasures in the storage of the Department of Numismatics and epigraphy, starting from the 30s of the 20th century to the present. Data on the composition of coins in the treasures are also given. The dynasties and coins represented in the collection are identified: coins of GrecoBactrian (tetradrachms), Kushan-shahi coins, Sasanian, Turanian, Bukharkhudat are identified.

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Текст научной работы на тему «Pre-muslim coins and treasures from the collection of the Bukhara state museum-reserve (numismatic review)»

Pre-muslim coins and treasures from the collection of the Bukhara state museum-reserve (numismatic review)

Izzatullo Khusenovich Shoyev shoyevizzat@gmail.com Bukhara State University

Abstract: The article is devoted to the review of one of the significant numismatic collections of Uzbekistan: the Bukhara State Museum-Reserve. The authors give a brief history of the receipt of pre-Muslim treasures in the storage of the Department of Numismatics and epigraphy, starting from the 30s of the 20th century to the present. Data on the composition of coins in the treasures are also given. The dynasties and coins represented in the collection are identified: coins of Greco-Bactrian (tetradrachms), Kushan-shahi coins, Sasanian, Turanian, Bukharkhudat are identified.

Keywords: museum, treasure, coin, collections, date, preservation, minting, museum, excavations.


The Bukhara State Museum-Reserve is one of the oldest museums in the Republic of Uzbekistan. Founded on November 8, 1922, today the museum holds not the most numerous, but undoubtedly valuable collections, which are important sources for the study of the history of our region. One of these collections is numismatic, consisting mainly of coins and banknotes of Eastern origin and covering the period from the 4th century BC to the 20th century inclusive.


The Central State Archive of the Republic of Uzbekistan keeps a number of documents that tell about the finds of hoards of coins on the territory of the Bukhara Khanate and their mandatory transfer to the state treasury. We are talking mainly about hoards of gold coins, unfortunately, only in a few cases the date and ownership of the coins are indicated. This is a statement addressed to the emir, that a resident of the area of Patjrat of Havoling region named Sobir, during the construction of the house, found a vessel with 1800 gold coins minted by the ruler of the Janid dynasty Imam-Quli Khan (1611-1642). By the time this fact was discovered, only 18 coins remained, which entered the treasury. During the interrogation, they confessed that they gave 500 coins to Merchant Sohib Nazar, 100 coins to Usto Sharif Zargar and promised to restore the entire treasure [1]. According to the documents, it can be assumed that in the administration of the emir there were officials responsible for

information about the finds of coins and treasures, their collection and receipt to the treasury [1]. According to the orientalist A. Semenov, there were also ancient coins in the treasury of the Emir of Bukhara, one of them was a gold coin of Eucratides [2].

According to the orientalist A. Semenov in the Treasury of the Emir of Bukhara was, and ancient coins, one gold coin Uncritically and banknotes from the Treasury of the last Bukhara Emir of Mangyt dynasty Sayyid Alim Khan (1911-1920) were transferred to the Bukhara State Museum on the opening day of in1922 year later in 1925, and formed the basis of the numismatic collections of the Museum [3]. The inventory of items from the emir's property, transferred to the museum in 1925, lists a total of 1082 coins and banknotes, including 71 gold coins, 652 silver coins, 333 copper coins and 26 paper banknotes. The entries are very short, only in two cases it is indicated that the coins are Belgian and a Chinese coin in the form of a large bullion. The act "... inspection of museum property..." (i.e. inventory of museum collections of 1934-1935) mentions 72 gold, 934 silver and 720 copper coins. In total, the collection increased to 3,452 coins [4].

The entries are very short, only the name of the metal is indicated. In the Books of Receipts of 1944, the records of coins become more expanded, but unfortunately, these records also do not contain the place of origin of coins [5]. Most of the coins received in these years are pre-attributed, mainly due to scientists from outside (the museum archive has definitions of M. E. Masson, A. Terenozhkin) in view of the lack of their own specialist. In the 60s and 70s, when A. A. Makhmudov became the director of the museum, and R. K. Tipaeva became the deputy for the scientific part, requirements were introduced to describe in detail the data on the origin of each incoming exhibit, including coins. They also started work on the preservation of all archaeological and numismatic finds found in the Bukhara region in the Bukhara Museum-Reserve. Thus, the museum has preserved the most interesting pre-Muslim treasures, such as the hoard of imitations of Varahran V, discovered in 1974 (in this article under No. 5) and the hoard of Greco-Bactrian coins, found in 1983 (in this article, hoard No. 1).

In 1985, the Department of Numismatics and epigraphy was established in the Bukhara Museum-Reserve and an exhibition was created. The department has expanded the geographical scope of the museum's numismatic collections, not just limited to the numismatics that characterize the area, as was previously the case. One of the most interesting acquisitions of recent years is a treasure of Kushan copper coins (in this article, treasure #2).

To date, the collection of pre-Islamic coins in the collection of oriental coins of the Bukhara State Museum-Reserve has 4476 units. 4365 units are coins of six treasures, 111 units are single finds from archaeological excavations (mainly from Paykend), acquisitions and random finds.



Two treasures from this collection have already been the subject of research and have been used as a historical source for studying the history of Central Asia in general and specifically of the Bukhara oasis. The researchers noted the great scientific value of these treasures.

The first hoard is a hoard of Greco-Bactrian coins from 58 tetradrachms [6]. The author of the discovery, a teacher of local lore at school No. 22 in Bukhara, A.V.Miller, who brought one coin to the Bukhara Museum to determine the author of this article, told about the circumstances and the exact location of the treasure. The treasure was found at the bottom of a canal under construction to the southwest of the Chor-Bakr architectural monument, some of the coins were in a pear-shaped vessel with a handle, others were scattered around. In connection with the construction of the canal, work was started on the demolition of the archaeological monument Tahmach-tepe, which was located on the specified territory. Obviously with Tahmach-tepe and was the treasure, as the earth Tepe was used to raise the dam of the channel. The treasure arrived in two parts: initially 50 units and then the second part in the amount of 8 units. The treasure consists of five coins of the ruler Diodotus, 51 coins of the ruler Euthydemus and 2 coins of the ruler Agathocles.

The second treasure - a treasure of silver coins, imitations of the tetradrachms of Euthydemus, was also mentioned in the literature repeatedly [7]. The coins (as defined by E. V. Rtveladze and A. Musakaeva) belong to the second group of imitations of the tetradrachms of Euthydemus and can be dated to the II-IV centuries AD [6. 35-38]. Interesting is the history of the receipt of this treasure, which was also covered by researchers. According to the record of the inventory book of 1944, the treasure was found in the Shakhrud canal by engineer Leontov in 1937. Two coins from this hoard were handed over to the best expert of Central Asian numismatics -M. E. Masson in Uzkomstaris, one to the senior researcher of the State museum of history A. Terenozhkin. In his definition, M. E. Masson, noting the significance of the find, wrote the following: "Individual copies of such coins have been known for a long time. By the way, in 1925 I saw in Bukhara one such tetradrachm of the "barbarian Euthydemus" from the vicinity of Romitan. But the discovery of entire hoards of such tetradrachms has not yet been recorded, which makes the find particularly interesting from a scientific point of view.

It is very important:

a) to collect interviews from different persons and record accurate information about the place and circumstances of the find and other details;

b) if the treasure was in the vessel, then get it or fragments from it, since the latter was broken;

c) buy up, without stopping at the expense, as far as possible, all the coin circles that were part of the treasure, even if they were not tetradrachms of the "barbarian Euthydemus" and even Sogdian coins. The latter would have a special meaning.

At the same time, I ask you to send all the coins you have already collected to Uzkomstaris for a detailed study, since even the two copies you have sent are different versions, which is important if you do not know how to read the inscription. After registration and examination, all coins will be returned to the Bukhara Museum. "(dated 20.01.1938) A.Terenozhkin wrote that" according to Drouin's definition, the coin is from 190-150 BC. Imitation of the tetradrachms of the Bactrian king of the late third century BC. The inscription on the coin is read from the Aramaic font "Basileus Maharat"(dated 2.12.1937) [4.47].

The third treasure - a treasure of Kushan copper coins in the amount of 205 units was acquired by the Bukhara Museum in 1998 from a private collection [8]. The origin of the treasure is not entirely clear, according to the collector, it comes from the border territory of the Bukhara and Kashkadarya regions. According to the preliminary definition of the author of this article, the hoard contains coins of Hulk Kanishka I, Vima Kadfiz and Huvishka. The weight of the coins is from 15 to 16 g., the diameter is from 20 to 25 mm., the thickness is 4 mm.

The records of treasure number four are unfortunately fragmentary and do not contain information about its origin. Judging by the composition, the treasure was received in two parts: the first (inv. No. 6688/22-6733/22) according to the record consists of 115 silver coins of Peroz (the author of the attribution is not known); the second (inv. No. 7040-7082) of 42 similar coins. Together with the first part of the coins, 24 Bukharkhudat coins and 6 Sheibanid coins were registered (their belonging to the hoard is questionable), in the second part we identified one coin of the Sasanian ruler Shapur III and one Sasanian coin is not attributed. The record of the treasure in the inventory book dates back to 1944, i.e. it can be assumed that the treasure was found and entered the museum in the interval before this date. The absence of the value in the record and the term "acquired" suggests that the treasure was found during earthworks and therefore entered the funds of the Bukhara Museum [8]. The absence of any publication, as well as the fact that the treasures and coins found in the territory of Bukhara and the Bukhara region during archaeological excavations mainly went to the funds of the central museums confirm our assumption. The coins of Peroz from the Bukhara hoard are not a numismatic rarity, they are presented in various editions of Sasanian coins [9]. But, if we take into account that in the Bukhara Sughd, not a single find of Peroz drachmas was recorded (459-484).) [6.152], then this treasure has a special significance for the history of Bukhara Sogd and Uzbekistan as a whole. During a preliminary examination of a number of signs, we identified several variants of coins and various stamps, the

treasure is homogeneous in its composition and consists of silver flat coins with a high relief. Coin weight from 3.7 g to 4.10 g, diameter from 25 mm to 29 mm. On the left side of the coins in a circle of merging dots is a bust of the Shahinshah to the right; on the right side is an altar of fire with priests standing on both sides in a dotted circle.

As mentioned above, the treasure also contains 24 Bukharhudat coins with Arabic inscriptions "Khalid", "Muhammad", "Mahdi", and one coin with the name "Muhammadi" in a circular Arabic inscription [10].

Treasure number five consists of 41 silver coins imitating the Sasanian king Varahran V (420-438). The treasure was found during excavation of the hill Talliteri, located in the village Uba of Chandiyr selsovet of the Shafirkan district of Bukhara region in 1974. The coins were placed in a white-pink jar of the 9- 10 centuries at a depth of 1 meter. The treasure was found by workers and handed over to the director of the Bukhara Museum-Reserve Makhmudov A. A., as evidenced by the entry in the Book of Receipts of the museum [11]. The issue of silver drachmas (coins of bukharkhudats) on the model of the Sasanian ruler Varahran V was started in Bukhara from the middle of the fifth century. On their obverse side is the image of the ruler in a scalloped crown to the right, on the reverse: the image of the altar of fire, on the sides of which are the priests.

Treasure number six consists of 3,800 coins of the VII-first half of the VIII centuries, issued in the Bukhara Sughd. Among them are coins of Gatifar, the king of the Ephthalites, coins with the image of a two-humped Bactrian camel - the most revered sign of the royal power of the pre - Islamic kings of Bukhara-Bukharkhudats. Researchers suggest, based on the significant number of coins in the hoard, that it may have belonged to a rich merchant . The treasure was found during archaeological excavations in a "stratified context" at the Paikend hillfort [4.34].

Isolated finds

1. Proceeds from archaeological excavations.

Coins in the amount of 86 units, found in the excavation and lifting material, were identified and handed over by the head of the expedition in Paykend, a researcher at the State Hermitage Museum, G.L.Semenov in 1983. They are mainly represented by Asbar coins.

The coin is a hoisting imitation of the ruler Vasudeva, according to E. Zaimal of the 2nd period [12], from Kum Sovtan handed over by the archaeologist Naimark A.

2. Receipt of coins whose origin is unclear.

Obviously, these coins came to the museum in the 20-40s. Among them are coins of Greco-Bactrian, Parthian, Sasanian coins (Peroza, Shapur III), Bukharkhudats.


This is a brief overview of the pre-Islamic numismatic collection of the Bukhara Museum-Reserve. Currently, the employees of the Department of Numismatics and Epigraphy are painstakingly studying the history of collecting collections from archival data and working on the study of the coins themselves and preparing them for publication.


The author expresses his profound gratitude to late candidate of historical sciences, associate prof. G.N.Kurbanov for his kind assistance and advices during the conduct of this article.


1. SGA, I-126, op.1, ye.xr. 1883. L.2

2. Kurbanov G.N., Niyazova M.I. Katalog greko-baktriyskix monet iz fondov Buxarskogo muzeya, Buxara, 1989, Rtveladze E.V. Drevnie moneti Sredney Azii. Tashkent, 1987, P. 30.

3. Arxiv Buxarskogo Gosudarstvennogo muzeya-zapovednika, folio № 21, op. 2, list 2

4. Ibid.

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