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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Asian Coins| ▸ |Kushan Empire||View Options:  |  |  | 

Coins of the Kushan Empire, 30 - 375 A.D.

The Kushans descended from the Guishuang branch of the nomadic Yueh-Chi tribe. The Kushans first ruled in Bactria. They gradually expanded until, at the height of the Empire, the Kushans loosely ruled a territory that extended north to the Aral Sea through present-day Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, south into northern India, and east as far as Kashgar, Khotan and Yarkant, in the Tarim Basin of modern-day Xinjiang, China. A direct road from Gandhara to China remained under Kushan control for more than a century. The loose unity and comparative peace of such a vast expanse encouraged long-distance trade, brought Chinese silks to Rome, and created flourishing urban centers. The Kushan dynasty had diplomatic contacts with the Roman Empire, Sasanian Persia, the Aksumite Empire and Han Dynasty of China. While much philosophy, art, and science was created within its borders, the only textual record of the empire's history today comes from inscriptions and accounts in other languages, particularly Chinese. In the 3rd century, the Kushan empire fragmented into semi-independent kingdoms which fell to the Sasanians invading from the west. In the 4th century, the Guptas, an Indian dynasty also pressed from the east. The last of the Kushan and Kushano-Sasanian kingdoms were eventually overwhelmed by invaders from the north, known as the Kidarites, and then the Hepthalites.Map of the Kushan Empire

Kushan Empire, Vasudeva I, c. 190 - 230 A.D.

|Kushan| |Empire|, |Kushan| |Empire,| |Vasudeva| |I,| |c.| |190| |-| |230| |A.D.||dinara|
Vasudeva I was king when the empire was at it's height of splendor, prosperity and opulence, but he was the last of the "Great Kushans." His rule coincided with the invasion of the Sasanians into northwestern India, and the establishment of the Indo-Sasanians or Kushanshahs in what is today Afghanistan, Pakistan and northwestern India. His capital was probably Mathura in northern India. He was a patron of art and the Mathura school of art prospered under his patronage. By the time of Vasudeva I, the Kushan dynasty had been totally assimilated in Indian culture. He was a Hindu, named after Vasudeva, the father of the Hindu god Krishna. Never again did a Kushan ruler depict a Greek or Zoroastrian deity on coinage, all depicted Oesho-Shiva or Ardoxsho-Laxmi. Most of Vasideva's coins depict Oesho with his bull, Nandi, on reverse. His coinage include a series of gold coins depicting four-armed, three headed Oesho-Shiva with finely engraved details demonstrating the superb die-engraving skills of Kushan period.
SP92334. Gold dinara, ANS Kushan 1092, Göbl Kushan 640A, Mitchiner ACW 3395 (Peshawar), VF, light marks, minor flan flaw lower half of reverse, reverses double strike, light earthen deposits, weight 7.890 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, die axis 0o, main mint, Bactria (probably Balkh) mint, late phase; obverse Bactrian inscription: şAONANOşAO BAZO∆HO KOşANO (king of kings, Vasudeva Kushan), king standing facing, head left, helmeted, nimbate, armored knee length tunic, trousers, and boots, sword in sheath on belt, sacrificing over altar from right hand, trident over altar, trident in left hand, nandipada in right field; reverse god Oesho (resembles Shiva) standing facing, leaning on bull Nandi standing left, one head, two arms, radiate nimbus, wearing ankle length dhoti, erect lingam, diadem in right hand, trident in raised left hand, tamga upper left, Bactrian legend OHşO upward on right; ex Artemission, London (2005); SOLD

Kushan Kingdom, Vasudeva II, 267 - 300 A.D.

|Kushan| |Empire|, |Kushan| |Kingdom,| |Vasudeva| |II,| |267| |-| |300| |A.D.||dinara|
Vasudeva II was a Kushan emperor who ruled c. 267 - 300 A.D. He was probably the successor of Kanishka III and may have been succeeded by a king named Shaka Kushan.

Oesho was represented on the coins of several Kushan kings, one of the titular deities of the dynasty. Nearly all of the images of Oesho are on coins, suggesting his worship was a royal cult, not widely followed by the kings' subjects. The bull, water-pot, and trident became key attributes of Shiva in later Hindu art.
SH91975. Gold dinara, ANS Kushan 1650, Göbl Kushan 630, Donum Burns 715, Choice gVF, weight 7.822 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 0o, Mathura/Gandhara, main mint, 267 - 300 A.D.; obverse Bactrian inscription: şAONANOşAO BAZO∆HO KOşANO (King of Kings Vasudeva Kushan), Vasudeva standing left, sacrificing over altar, filleted staff in left hand, filleted trident to left; Brahmi rju right of altar, Brahmi gho between Vasudeva's feet, Brahmi tra to right of Vasudeva's leg, Brahmi rda to right; reverse god Oesho (resembles Shiva) standing facing before the bull Nandi standing left, nimbate head facing, diadem in right hand, trident in left hand, tamgha upper left, Bactrian legend OHşO downward on right; ex Artemission (London), 2006; SOLD

Kushan Empire, Shaka, c. 305 - 335 A.D.

|Kushan| |Empire|, |Kushan| |Empire,| |Shaka,| |c.| |305| |-| |335| |A.D.||dinara|
The list of Kushan rulers and their dates of reign is constantly under review. 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. Robert Göbl did not think Shaka was the name of a ruler; rather, he thought the coins were tribal issues, but Michael Mitchiner and the authors of ANS Kushan think Shaka was a king.
SH85122. Gold dinara, ANS Kushan 1671, Göbl Kushan 585, 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. 305 - 335 A.D.; obverse Shaka standing facing, head left wearing nimbus, diadem and conical hat, sacrificing over altar from right hand, filleted staff in left hand, filleted trident to left, Brahmi inscriptions: sya under left arm, vi between altar and leg, Shaka right; reverse goddess Ardoxsho enthroned facing, nimbate, diadem in right hand, cradling cornucopia in left arm, tamgha upper left, blundered Bactrian inscription (mostly off flan as usual); SOLD



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Catalog current as of Friday, October 22, 2021.
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