Calligraphy on Islamic Coins

The art of the coin in the Chinese and in the Islamic world focused on the beauty of the designed characters and a proportionate distribution of text on the available limited, mostly circular space. The roots of coin design in the Islamic world lay nevertheless in the Hellenistic tradition, whereas Chinese coinage drew on a different past. The early Islamic Empire covered the old Hellenistic world from western North Africa to Central Asia.

Early Islamic coins can be described above all as bearers of texts of up to 150 words. The texts on coins during the first six and a half centuries of Islam reflect the entire hierarchy of power at the time and indicate where the coins vvoro minted. Usually they name the town, sometimes the urban quarter, and occasionally even the palace where the coin was minted. Coins typically indicate the year, sometimes the month and occasionally the day of striking. Religious legends provide clues to the political orientation of the authorities who commissioned their production.

Islamic and Chinese cultures developed different aesthetics in the design of coins than western Europe. Both cultures created outstanding numismatic artefacts. Later, names of caliphs, sultans, kings, governors and even the names of the die- engravers were added.  Both cultures created outstanding numismatic artefacts.  In the late seventh century, Islamic authorities initially created coins as text documents. Early coins are anonymous, containing parts of the Qur’an, the divine revelation, and the necessary administrative information.