As seen in the previous blog, the early coinage of Kushan had a great Greek iconographic influence and were struck depicting the Greek deities. However as the Kushans created a vast Empire under Kanishka I the iconographic imagery, as well as the deities on Kushan coins, became more and more Indian. The religious pantheon under Kanishka I and Huvishka drew heavily from the pre-Zoroastrian Iran and the Hindu and Buddhist pantheon. The coins of Later Kushan rulers mostly depicted Oesho (Indian) and Ardochsho (Iranian). Scholars are of the opinion that the iconography introduced by the Kushan in their coins was continued by many dynasties that followed the Kushans.
Deities are worshipped in various forms from time immemorial. Beliefs and reverence for supernatural powers have driven humans to worship various forms. They may be natural elements personified, saints and divine personalities considered next to god or the God Himself. These deities are found depicted on Indus Valley Seals, on walls of ancient ruins and at places of worship. After the advent of coins, deities were depicted on coins of Greece, Rome and on Janapada coins of India. Before we explore the numerous deities on Kushan coins let us first try to understand the nature of religion, the origin of the gods, and their respective roles and significance in human life.