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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Asian Coins ▸ Kushan EmpireView Options:  |  |  | 

Coins of the Kushan Empire

The Kushans descended from the Kue-Shuang branch of the Yueh-Chi tribe, originally from the Chinese frontier. They migrated into Gandhara and Punjab, India by the end of the 1st century B.C. The first types issued copied the Bactrian issues of Hermaeus. Later issues were influenced by Roman coins. Kushan was overrun by the Sasanian Empire in the early 3rd century A.D., but continued to exist until the 4th century.

Kushan Empire, Kanishka I the Great, c. 127 - 150 A.D.

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Kanishka I the Great ruled an empire in Bactria extending from Turfan in the Tarim Basin to Pataliputra on the Gangetic plain, c. 127 - 150 A.D., with his capital at Purusapura in Gandhara. He is famous for his military, political, and spiritual achievements. His conquests and patronage of Buddhism played an important role in the development of the Silk Road, and the transmission of Mahayana Buddhism from Gandhara across the Karakoram range to China.
AW84802. Bronze tetradrachm, Göbl Kushan 768, Mitchiner ACW 3077, BMC India 46, Whitehead Panjab 68, aVF, thick tight flan, some, weight 17.632 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 315o, Purusapura(?) mint, c. 128 - 150 A.D.; obverse Bactrian legend: PAO KA-NhPW (King Kanishka), king standing half left, diademed head left, sacrificing at altar at feet on left, long scepter vertical in left hand; reverse sun god Mithra standing left, radiate nimbus around head, raising right hand commanding sunrise, left hand on sword hilt at side, tamgha left, Bactrian legend: MIIRO curving downward on right; scarce; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00 ON RESERVE

Kushan Empire, Shaka, c. 325 - 345 A.D.

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This coin has a Brahmi inscription "Shaka" in the right field, in the same place where Vasudeva II's coins read "Vasu." It is natural to suppose that perhaps Shaka was the name of the king who issued the coin. There is a mention of one "Devaputra Shahi Shahanshahi Shaka Murunda" in Samudragupta's famous Allahabad inscription, as one of the rulers who paid him homage. In this context, Shaka could be a title, it could refer to a tribe, or it could be a personal name. In any case, it seems to be related to the Shaka coins. Robert Göbl did not think Shaka was the name of a ruler; rather, he thought the coins were tribal issues, but Michael Mitchiner and many other authors do think Shaka was a king.
SH85122. Gold dinar, Göbl Kushan 585; cf. ANS Kushan 1671, Donum Burns 760 - 762, gVF, small hairline flan crack, scratch on reverse, weight 7.823 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain mint, c. 325 - 345 A.D.; obverse Shaka standing left, sacrificing over altar, filleted staff in left hand, filleted trident to left, Brahmi bhi to right of altar, Brahmi sya below arm, Brahmi inscription Shaka outer right; reverse goddess Ardoxsho enthroned facing, diadem in right hand, cradling cornucopia in left arm, tamgha upper left; SOLD

Kushan Kingdom, Gadahara, c. 320 - 360 A.D.

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SH48317. Gold stater, Mitchiner ACW 3592, Göbl Kushan 608, aEF, weight 7.796 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 0o, obverse king standing facing, sacrificing at altar at left, trident above left; Brahmi inscriptions: KaPa left, PiRyaSa below arm, GaDaHaRa right; reverse goddess Ardochsho (Lakshmi) enthroned facing, nimbate, crescent on top of head, garland in right hand, scepter in left hand, tamga left; SOLD



Alram, M. Iranisches Personennamenbuch: Nomina Propria Iranica In Nummis. Österreichischen Akademie Der Wissenschaften. (Vienna, 1986).
Jongeward, D. & J. Cribb. Kushan, Kushano-Sasanian, and Kidarite Coins: A Catalogue of Coins from the American Numismatic Society. (New York, 2015).
Carter, M. "A Consideration of some Iconographic Details of Buddha Images on Kushana Coins" in Essays McDowall.
Carter, M. "A Numismatic Reconstruction of Kushano-Sasanian History" in ANSMN 30 (1985).
Cribb, J. "Kanishka's Buddha image coins revisited" in Silk Road Art and Archaeology 6 (1999/2000).
Cribb, J. "Numismatic Evidence for Kushano-Sasanian Chronology" in Studia Iranica 19 (1990).
Cribb, J. "The 'Heraus' coins: their attribution to the Kushan king Kujula Kadphises, c. AD 30-80" in Essays Carson-Jenkins.
Cribb, J. & R. Bracey. Kushan Coins Catalogue. (London, 2011).
Friedberg, A. & U. Gold Coins of the World, From Ancient Times to the Present. (Clifton, NJ, 2009).
Gardner, P. The Coins of the Greek and Scythic Kings of Bactria and India in the British Museum. (London, 1886).
Göbl. R. Donum Burns, Die Küsanmünzen im Münzkabinett Bern und die Chronologie. (Vienna, 1971).
Göbl, R. Münzprägung des Kusanreiches. Österreichischen Akademie Der Wissenschaften. (Vienna, 1984).
Herzfeld. E. Kushano-Sasanian Coins. Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of India, No. 38. (Calcutta, 1930).
Jongeward, D. & J. Cribb. Kushan, Kushano-Sasanian, and Kidarite Coins: A Catalogue of Coins from the American Numismatic Society. (New York, 2015).
Loeschner, H. "Notes on the Yuezhi - Kushan Relationship and the Kushan Chronology" ONS Occasional Paper, 15 May 2008.
Mitchiner, M. Oriental Coins, Vol. 2: the Ancient and Classical World. (London, 1978).
Mukherjee. B. Kushana Silver Coinage. (Calcutta, 2004).
Rosenfield, J. The Dynastic Art of the Kushans. (Berkeley, 1967).
Senior, R. Indo-Scythian Coins and History. (London, 2001; supplement: London, 2006).
Whitehead, R. Catalog of Coins in the Panjab Museum, Lahore, Vol. I: Indo-Greek Coins. (Oxford, 1914).

Catalog current as of Thursday, July 20, 2017.
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Kushan Coins