Jump to content

Kushan Coins


Recommended Posts

I just noticed that this forum needs some Kushan coins, I'll help with that. I'll show off some (but not all) of the deities on Kanishka I's coinage. All coins feature the obverse of Kanishka standing at an altar, holding a spear and sacrificing; the reverse always has a Tamgha in the field, a symbol of uncertain meaning that changed with each ruler.

First up is Mioro, sun god, radiate and making a blessing gesture; named as Helios on the earliest coins.1628400975_ANS418.png.5e322d313ea4fe2c21287baabde4e2a5.png

Next is Athsho, god of fire and metals, holding a diadem; on some later coins he is depicted with tongs. On the dinars from his early reign, this god is identified as Hephaistos.1336704994_ANS459.png.8d592f03189dc5ec965affe09b0e853b.png

Mao, the lunar deity; depicted with a sword and crescents on his shoulders. Identified as Selene on the earliest coins.1870722459_ANS520.png.f7146a01fce5442d3b47469b50b7a1c1.png

Nana, holding an animal protome; spelled NANAIA in Greek. Frequently depicted on Kushan coins, and of Iranian origin.1027925403_ANS546.png.e54242b36b704d399f34ca2824157506.png

Oesho, an extremely syncretic deity, holding a trident, a water pot, a diadem, and a thunderbolt; the attributes he holds vary widely in number and type. Evidence exists that he was identified as Herakles on the earliest Greek issues, though here he is clearly identified with Shiva.1267409531_ANS553.png.449a97d4723819922fa42be9653b0bab.png

Oado, god of winds, holding a billowing cloak; famous for disseminating along the silk road all the way to Japan. On the earliest coins, he is identified as Anemos.850602771_ANS579.png.7037d567e0a2fe5bdce66d290475ff1e.png

Finally, and most famously, the seated Buddha. Strictly speaking this is not the historical Buddha, who is depicted on other tets and is properly called Sakyamuni (SAKAMANO in Baktrian); this is Maitreya (ΜΗΤΡΑΓΟ in Baktrian), an eschatological Buddha who has yet to come. Two separate Buddhas are depicted on Kanishka's coinage, and not just one; Sakyamuni is by far the most common.549424177_ANS617.png.16020748780ea252d49226ea8f21e507.png

There are 2 other gods missing here; Ardoxsho and Pharro. Both are exceedingly rare, and I have yet to get my own examples, but they can be found in museum collections.

And there you have it, a small slice of Kanishka's bronze output; I'm only touching the surface here, there's plenty of other more esoteric bronze issues of his worth discussion, but for the time being I'll leave it at that.

Edited by velarfricative
  • Like 23
  • Thanks 1
  • Popcorn 2
  • Heart Eyes 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a fabulous array of Kanishka reverses, @velarfricative!  All great coins, though of course the Buddha is extra special.

I have an Oado:

image.jpeg.8fbd95b51d1f35c12b463761e8d68221.jpeg

 

Also this smaller denomination, a "drachm" (17mm and 4.22g) that I've tentatively ID'd as Mao and coming from an alternate mint in Kashmir.  Does that sound right to you?

image.jpeg.1b19da8c0c9b4a97af6f33956ae223a2.jpeg

 

Going to some other emperors, here's Kujula Kadphises with Hercules on the reverse:

image.jpeg.3b02c676d2823b7ae5f98de19e876d21.jpeg

 

And Vima Takto with himself(?) on the reverse:

image.jpeg.5f2554c378331e18fb53e70f0834a751.jpeg

 

Vima Kadphises with Shiva:

image.jpeg.2844af34b368e62764f319a7d29b9581.jpeg

 

And finally, Huvishka with Mithra (either a late phase coin or an imitation... again, any help here much appreciated!)

image.jpeg.29fb27d62be2b8657a20311035260a1d.jpeg

 

 

  • Like 15
  • Popcorn 1
  • Mind blown 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

32 minutes ago, Severus Alexander said:

What a fabulous array of Kanishka reverses, @velarfricative!  All great coins, though of course the Buddha is extra special.

I have an Oado:

image.jpeg.8fbd95b51d1f35c12b463761e8d68221.jpeg

 

Also this smaller denomination, a "drachm" (17mm and 4.22g) that I've tentatively ID'd as Mao and coming from an alternate mint in Kashmir.  Does that sound right to you?

image.jpeg.1b19da8c0c9b4a97af6f33956ae223a2.jpeg

 

Going to some other emperors, here's Kujula Kadphises with Hercules on the reverse:

image.jpeg.3b02c676d2823b7ae5f98de19e876d21.jpeg

 

And Vima Takto with himself(?) on the reverse:

image.jpeg.5f2554c378331e18fb53e70f0834a751.jpeg

 

Vima Kadphises with Shiva:

image.jpeg.2844af34b368e62764f319a7d29b9581.jpeg

 

And finally, Huvishka with Mithra (either a late phase coin or an imitation... again, any help here much appreciated!)

image.jpeg.29fb27d62be2b8657a20311035260a1d.jpeg

 

 

Very nice examples! You are correct that your drachm depicts Mao, the shoulder crescents are unique to that deity. Your Huvishka looks likely imitative, with a blundered tamgha and legends; but, that being said, many of his later issues have blundered legends as well, so it's hard to say for sure. Huvishka's coinage is vast and complex, and the conditions of the coins make it tough to study.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, Ryro said:

Y'all are killing me with these amazing coins in an area I am just scratching the surface of and some barbarous imitations:

IMG_1295.PNG.6a0d9b3922356c034bd83777dad88f5d.PNGIMG_3957(1).PNG.423416e50f32bc11304cbfcb60077b22.PNGIMG_1291(1).PNG.ec127de72d65b365e92b81e840bcbcd1.PNG

IMG_1297(1).PNG

IMG_1299(1).PNG

IMG_1294.PNG

Only one of yours looks imitative, actually; the fifth one appears to be a small unit Huvishka imitation. The others are all official issues from their respective regions.

Edited by velarfricative
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
  • Smile 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

29 minutes ago, Ryro said:

IMG_1291(1).PNG.ec127de72d65b365e92b81e840bcbcd1.PNG

@Ryro, this coin is an earlier Post-Mauryan coin from Gandhara/Taxila c. 200-180 BCE (or possibly a bit later).  These coins often have a piece clipped off the corner (as on my example below), for unknown reasons, like on some Mauryan coins.  Yours doesn't have the clipped corner:

image.jpeg.7adc6886bc74432de4b2a1a41fdf91fd.jpeg

Here are my notes on this coin, from various sources including Coin India: Taxila, now a UNESCO world heritage site, is located in the Punjab (Gandhara) and was an important commercial centre due to its location at the confluence of several trade routes.  It also contained one of the oldest universities in the world. (Pushkalavati, the former capital of the Gandhara majajanapada, was further west.)  After the death of Asoka in 232 BCE, the Mauryan Empire went into slow decline.  The Khyber pass was left undefended, and the Bactrian kings invaded starting in 180 BCE (Demetrios I, then Menander I), taking over the area of Taxila.  This coin is a civic issue from the transitional period while Mauryan power was waning.

You're welcome! 😉

  • Like 10
  • Thanks 2
  • Mind blown 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor
Posted · Benefactor
Posted (edited)

INDIA, Kushan: Vima Kadphises

AE tetradrachm

circa 112-127 AD

Diameter: 28 mm

Weight: 16.88 grams

Obverse: King standing facing, sacrificing at altar left, tamgha and club in right field, Greek legend around: BACIΛEVC BACIΛEWN CWTHP MEΓAC OOhMO KAΔΦICHC

Reverse: Oesho (Siva) standing facing, Bull Nandi behind, nandipada at left, Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa rajadirajasa sarvaloga isvarasa mahisvarasa vima kathphishasa tratara

Reference: Göbl 762, MAC 3033

Other: 12 o'clock

=> a choice specimen with good legend and the king's name spelled fully (OOhMO KAΔΦICHC)

Ex-stevex6

India Kushan.jpg

 

 

... ummm, I wasn't sure if Sev-Alex was saying these coins are okay in this thread, or if he was saying keep these square coins outta here?? (but I couldn't resist posting it, because these square babies are so fricken cool, right?)

Hi

 

India, Pushkalavati AE 24x23, Square 

Hey, no clipped corner

Ex-stevex6

elephant & lion.jpg

Edited by Steve
  • Like 13
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lots of nice Kushan bronzes here.  I have a few Kushan coins, but for now I'll just share one reverse type that hasn't been shown yet in this thread: a didrachm (8.07 g) of Kanishka featuring the sun god on reverse, but where the sun god is identified as Helios rather than Mioro:

777158540_KanishkaHelios.jpg.e5d8c4602febbc78faa07d18bf16521d.jpg

 

  • Like 11
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

I don't have many (possibly only the following one), but I find many of the Kushan coins interesting for their bilingual legends. (That's a topic that fascinates me, how the coins show the collision of cultures; bilingual ones appear in particular kinds of contexts beginning, I think, in the Hellenistic period and continuing through to medieval Islamic and European coinage, among other places.) 

This particular Soter Megas / Vima Takto type, though, uses only Greek (plus a Tamgha). But his coins are right at the boundary between Greek & Kushan traditions. His later coins were bilingual, using Greek and, if I understand correctly, Prakrit written in Kharoshthi script on the reverses.

image.jpeg.4887336064584696a609cd8d67eb8698.jpeg

 

It's also interesting that his identity only came to light with the discovery of the Rabatak inscription [wiki], a sort of Rosetta Stone for the Kushan world, “…an inscription written on a rock in the Bactrian language and the Greek script, which was found in 1993 at the site of Rabatak, near Surkh Kotal in Afghanistan.”

From CNG's listing for a different example: "The legend reads only Soter Megas - the Great Savior, and the actual name of the issuing king long remained unknown. The discovery of the Rabatak inscription, though, changed Kushan history by providing evidence to verify the elusive identity of 'Soter Megas'. His name was Vima Tak[to] (the last syllable is still uncertain).”

See also: Razieh Taasob 2008, “Language and Legend in Early Kushan Coinage: Progression and Transformation.” 

(I pulled the trigger on this one because it was from the Clain-Stefanelli Collection [formed c. 1930s-1990s; Vladimir: 1914-1982; Elivra: 1914-2001; and Alexander: 1943-2015], in which I have a particular interest.)

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/7/2022 at 1:23 PM, Curtis JJ said:

I don't have many (possibly only the following one), but I find many of the Kushan coins interesting for their bilingual legends. (That's a topic that fascinates me, how the coins show the collision of cultures; bilingual ones appear in particular kinds of contexts beginning, I think, in the Hellenistic period and continuing through to medieval Islamic and European coinage, among other places.) 

This particular Soter Megas / Vima Takto type, though, uses only Greek (plus a Tamgha). But his coins are right at the boundary between Greek & Kushan traditions. His later coins were bilingual, using Greek and, if I understand correctly, Prakrit written in Kharoshthi script on the reverses.

image.jpeg.4887336064584696a609cd8d67eb8698.jpeg

 

It's also interesting that his identity only came to light with the discovery of the Rabatak inscription [wiki], a sort of Rosetta Stone for the Kushan world, “…an inscription written on a rock in the Bactrian language and the Greek script, which was found in 1993 at the site of Rabatak, near Surkh Kotal in Afghanistan.”

From CNG's listing for a different example: "The legend reads only Soter Megas - the Great Savior, and the actual name of the issuing king long remained unknown. The discovery of the Rabatak inscription, though, changed Kushan history by providing evidence to verify the elusive identity of 'Soter Megas'. His name was Vima Tak[to] (the last syllable is still uncertain).”

See also: Razieh Taasob 2008, “Language and Legend in Early Kushan Coinage: Progression and Transformation.” 

(I pulled the trigger on this one because it was from the Clain-Stefanelli Collection [formed c. 1930s-1990s; Vladimir: 1914-1982; Elivra: 1914-2001; and Alexander: 1943-2015], in which I have a particular interest.)

Very nice Vima Takto! It was not Vima Takto, but his son, Vima Kadphises, who used Greek and Kharosthi on his main issues. Vima Takto had subsidiary mints that did make use of Kharosthi and Greek, however. Following the Vimas, all Kushan coins are monolingual, first in Greek and then in Bactrian for the remainder of their empire.

ANS 274.png

ANS 309.1.png

  • Like 8
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a great selection of coins!
I don't have too many Kushan coins but I do like the size and thickness of them. I wish I could find more resources to read up on their history.

Here are the only three I have (They are not nearly as nice as the examples thus far):

Emperor  Huvishka
213994351_EmperorHuvishkaKushanEmpireAETetradrachmElephantandAthso.png.5dbaeb2377c20f6d365deeca6a26fbe7.png

 

Emperor Kanishka
1003820478_EmperorKanishkaIKushanEmpireEmperorandOado.png.3ec5bcbf0b57351610a1d4a7dc3cd32c.png

 

Emperor Vima Kadphises
520840952_EmperorVimaKadphisesKushanEmpireAETetradrachmEmperorShivawithBull.png.5364d0666f7a7f8f44d6e36260c5e5f8.png

  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...