Coins of Kanishka

18 Oct 2018  Thu

The advent of the Common Era brought the rule of the mighty Kushan rulers. The dynasty at its paramount controlled a large territory ranging from the Aral Sea in the west to Benares in east and Sanchi in the south. The Kushan era witnessed immense cultural, economic and political growth and is marked by extensive wealth and prosperity in arts. Interestingly, their coinage lacks any silver coins except for a known two specimens in museums.

Kanishka the Great who ruled from 127-151 AD was one of the most illustrious rulers of India. He held the Second Buddhist Council and is noted as an important patron of Buddhism. His coins which depict a wide plethora of Greek, Iranian, Hindu and Buddhist deities, serve as an authentic study source of religion & history. His innovative coin imagery is of particular importance in the numismatic art, the world over. He issued gold coins in the denominations of Dinar, Quarter Dinar and copper coins in Tetradrachms, Didrachms, Drachms and Hemidrachms.

The coin depicted beside is a Copper Tetradrachm depicting on its obverse a Bearded king offering oblation into the altar, holding goad in outstretched right hand and spear in left, flames on the right shoulder, a sword hanging from the belt, dotted border beneath feet. Inscription in Bactrian starts at 1 o'clock "Shao Kanishki".

The reverse has Oado running to left with both arms raised holding a cape, spiked hair, wearing dhoti and bracelets. Tamgha to left, Bactrian inscription reads "OADO" to right, dotted-border.

Image Courtesy: Classical Numismatics Gallery

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