Buddha on Kushan Coins

24 May 2021  Mon

Deities are worshipped in various forms from time immemorial. Beliefs and reverence for supernatural powers have driven humans to worship various forms. 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.

Boddo or Buddha founder of new philosophic thought in India on whose teachings Buddhism was founded is depicted on coins of Kanishka I. He is believed to have lived and taught mostly in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th-4th century BC.

The iconographic imagery of Gautama Buddha was introduced during the Kushan rule and developed with the Gandhara style of art under this dynasty. The image of Buddha on Kanishka I’s coins is the first-ever image of Buddha on coins with all the aesthetic features of Buddha-like the head bun, the sanghati (the over a cloth), and long ear lobes.

The coins of Kanishka I have other avatars (incarnations) of Buddha depicted on them. According to Mahayana traditions, Buddha was not the only Buddha. Mahayana Buddhism considers Shakyamuni Buddha to be the first Buddha. Maitreya Buddha is the future incarnation of Buddha according to the Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist traditions. Kanishka I’s coins also portray him on them.

The above coin is a Gold Dinar Coin of Kanisha which depicts a crowned diademed king standing facing, holding spear sacrificing at the altar at left on the obverse with Bactrian legend King of Kings Kanishka Kushan) around. The reverse depicts Buddha standing facing, left hand holding robe, right hand in abhayamudra, the Bactrian legend on the left.

Image Courtesy: i.pinimg.com

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