8. Auspicious Symbols – ONS Study Day, London, 18 Nov 2017

 On 18 November 2017 the ONS Study Day will focus on auspicious symbols. Coins (bank notes, tokens, and charms) are not decorated just with images or inscriptions. They also preserve a range of symbols and devices which might be considered under the term auspicious. This is a somewhat imprecise term but is often used to cover those parts of a design which cannot be considered either images or inscriptions. These symbols are amongst the most ambiguous elements in coin iconography with it being very unclear why an engraver added them to the coin. Questions that might be considered during the day are:
  • The long duration of particular symbols?
  • What precisely is an auspicious symbol?
  •  Are symbols maintained on coins principally through conservatism or because of a perceived meaning?
  • The ambiguity of symbols and the gap in meaning between maker and user. What did the dieengraver/mint master/king mean? What did the user(s) understand?
  • The auspicious nature of coins themselves and their relationship with charms and other auspicious objects.

If you are interested in presenting a paper then please contact Robert Bracey, or the regional secretary Paramdip Khera. If you would like to attend, the study day is open to members and non-members of the society, then please also contact Robert or Paramdip. The meeting will begin at 11am and finish at 4pm –  in the Coins & Medals Department of the British Museum. No lunch is provided but tea & coffee are supplied in the morning and afternoon and we usually ask attendees to contribute one pound to this on the day.

Different sections of the Oriental Numismatic Society organise study days and seminars throughout the year. In the United Kingdom the society usually holds three or four study days each year.

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