Doha-based Syrian artist mints demonstration coins for Qatar
October 15 2020 07:36 PM
Bachir Mohamad, artist and designer
Bachir Mohamad, artist and designer

A Doha-based Syrian artist has minted nine demonstration metal coins with details related to the era of all rulers of Qatar.

An ongoing exhibition of the coins – Process – at Katara — The Cultural Village, will continue November 6.

Bachir Mohamad, artist and designer, has been living in Qatar for about 14 years now.
Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, Bachir started his career in numerous projects as assistant to the acting designer, second to the designer-in-chief of art and design elements.
For his artistic and creative designs and art works, he has received various awards.

The artist has been nurturing the idea of creating demonstration coins each for every ruler of Qatar since 1851 to highlight different aspects of the local culture and achievements of each ruler till present day.

He got the chance to bring his idea into reality as he got enough time to study and work on the idea during the recent pandemic lockdown.

During a recent interview with Gulf Times, Bachir spoke about his novel idea and how he got it done.

Regarding how he conceived the idea of having demonstration coinage of Qatar rulers since 1851, he said: “Money is not only a tool, which implies purchase value of needs, but also an image of power.

Money, as it is known today, first appeared in the form of coins, mainly a communication tool as a significant indicator presenting purchasing power.”

In terms of its cultural function, coin is also signifier of social position or status as a sociologic phenomenon.“Coins were firstly made of metals and their value was determined by the value of the metal content, so that it was accepted publicly.

Historically, most coinage metals are from copper, gold and silver.

The copper usually augmented with tin and often other metals to form bronze.
Gold, silver and bronze were the coinage metals of the ancient world and most medieval civilisations.”

To further elaborate his art pieces, Bachir spoke about the coinage during different Islamic Caliphates.“Among the finest coins to be made were the ones produced by the Islamic Caliphates since the 7th Century.

Muslims generally minted coins in three kinds of metal.

The first type is a gold coin called the dinar, Arabic (dinar), which was borrowed via the Syriac (dinara) from the Greek (denarion), itself from the Latin (denarius).The second is a silver coin called the dirham, derived from the Sassanian drachm, which was itself based on the Roman dram/drachm, coming from drachma (the Greek coin).The third is a copper coin called the fils (Arabic plural: fulus), where the name is a modulation of follis, Roman and later Byzantine copper coin.”

The main question for the artist was: what if Qatar used a similar administrative monetary issuance to the ones of the previous Islamic Caliphates, how would the currency be? “For this project, a coin is defined as an object that is a scaled-down representation of a real or imagined original and which is manufactured and presented for demonstration purposes only which will never be used for monetisation.

This project is not a listing or cataloguing exercise.

It is aimed at providing informational value and dimension to revive the legacy of the historical leading coins in the Islamic and Arab world.

The creative project consists of minted gold coins (dinar), silver coins (dirham), and bronze coins (fils).”

The artists has created as many as nine coins for eight rulers of Qatar with two coins highlighting the tenure of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and one coin each for the rest of seven rulers.“I used modern technology and equipment to finalise and mint the coins”, said Bachir.

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