Monday, 17 June 2019

The Kushan

Roman denarii were the first gold coins to appear in India, which had only previously seen copper and silver coins. Soon the Indian rulers of the day, the Kushan, copied the idea. Kushans, an Indo-European tribe who roamed the Asian steppes, expanded their empire into India in the 1st century AD.

By the time they reached India, the Kushan culture was a rich blend of Chinese, Iranian, Afghan, Greek and Indian customs, beliefs and modes of dress.
Much of what we know about the mysterious Kushans comes from studying their coinage, which is rich with symbolism. Vima Kadphises was the first to mint gold coins. His gold distater, or double-dinar, weighs in at 15.95 grams, twice the weight of the only other widely circulating gold coin of the time, the Roman aureus. His coin features the Hindu pantheon, but it also depicts the Buddhist triaratna (“three jewels”) symbol.

Kushan: Vasudeva I Gold dinar with 3-headed Siva