The Khushans (derives from Chinese term Guishang) were one of the Yueh – Chi tribes.

Pushed westward by the Hsuing – nu and Parthians they settled in Bactria, from where they launched conquest of Northern Hindustan (India) and built an important empire that established commercial relations with China and Rome. It was a multi ethnic Kingdom strongly influenced by Hellenism. They kept the Greek style of coinage and alphabets for minting their name, mainly Zoroastrian gradually embraced also the Hellenized way of Buddhism in opposition to Aryan Brahmanism.

The ruler Kujula Kadphises established the greatest Empire of India, called Kushana. After getting hold of Bactria from Scythians and Indo Parthians, Kajula moved to Gandhara with the capital at Taxila, & summer capital Begram. With these Kushans became master traders, adopted Greek legends and struck their own gold coins featuring Kushan royal portraits, Greek mottos and symbols inspired by Roman Coin.

In 48 AD Kujula crossed Hindu Kush and formed an alliance with Greek being Harmaeus, in the Kabul valley, which allowed Kujula’s son Vima Kadphises to defeat Scythians in northern India and established an empire. Kajula issued many copper coins and very few silvers, his earliest issues bears the bust of Harmaeus on obverse and Herakles on revese. He also initiated diademed head of the Emperor Augustus (C.31 BC – 14 AD) on Roman Coins. His coin type bull on obverse and double humped Bactrian camel on reverse reflects the nomadic habits of Kushanas. The coin type of helmeted head of Macedonian Soldier shows his inheritance from Indo Greek coinage. All his coins are bilingual, Greek on obverse and Kharosthi on reverse.


  • Title: Kushan Coins
  • Date Created: 1 CE
  • Physical Location: State Bank Museum & Art Gallery

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