March 7, 2019 Kushan Dynasty – Kanishka By Sutirtha Datta Ancient India 0 Comments Contents Origins Kushan DynastyRulers of Kushan DynastyKujula Kadphises (15-64 AD) Vima Kadphises (64 – 78)Kanishka (78 – 101)Decline of the Kushan EmpireSignificance of the Kushan Empire >>>>>>> Origins Kushan Dynasty Kushan dynasty is considered to be one of the five branches of the Yuezhi tribe. They lived in the Chinese frontier or central Asia. Kushan dynasty is known as Guishuang in Chinese sources. They eventually acquired dominance over the other Yuezhi tribes. Kushan dynasty rulers moved eastward towards India defeating the Parthians and the Shakas in the 1st century AD. >>>>>> >>>>>>> Rulers of Kushan Dynasty Kujula Kadphises (15-64 AD) Kujula Kadphises laid the foundation of the Kushan Empire in India. He amalgamated the five clans of Yue-chi tribes He also known as Kadphises I. Kujula kadphises established his supremacy over Kabul, Kandahar and Afghanistan. He minted coins in copper. His coins also suggest an association with Buddhism. >>>>>>> Vima Kadphises (64 – 78) An inscription found at Rabatak in Afghanistan mentions that he was the son of Vima Taktu and the father of Kanishka. He is also known as Wema Kadphises II. He conquered Gandhara from the Parthians and further spread the kingdom till Mathura region. Vima Kadphises has issued a large number of gold coins. He was a Shiva devotee as is clear from coins issued by him. The large number of Roman gold coins found from the Kushan era, indicates good trade with the Romans. >>>>>>> Kanishka (78 – 101) Kanishka is considered as the greatest Kushan dynasty king. His main capital was Peshawar, then known as Purushpura. He had second capital in Mathura. After the capture of Pataliputra, he took away the Buddhist monk Ashvaghosha with him to Peshawar. The scholars in the court of Kanishka included Ashvaghosha – wrote the Buddhacharita Vasumitra – a philosopher who authored Mahavibhasa Nagarjuna – propounded the Prajna Paramita Sutra Charaka – father of Ayurveda, wrote Charaksamhita and Sasruta Agesilaus – a Greek engineer, built the great stupa of Purushapura The Rabatak Inscription (Afghanistan) presents valuable information on Kanishka. Kanishka started the Shaka era in 78 which is accepted as the beginning of his reign. He adopted the title of ‘Devputra’. Kanishka convened the 4th Buddhist Council at Kundalvana in Kashmir. He patronised Buddhism although he was very tolerant in his religious views. Coins of Kanishka contain a mix of Indian, Greek and Zoroastrian deities. The Gandhara School of art flourished under Kushan dynasty. Kanishka also propagated Mahayana form of Buddhism, and he was largely responsible for propagating it in China. >>>>>>> Gold Coins of Vima Kadphises >>>>>>> Decline of the Kushan Empire Kushan empire power gradually declined from the early third century Kanishka was succeeded by his son Vasishka. Vasishka was followed by Huvishka and Kanishka II (son of Vasishka). Kanishka II was followed by Vasudeva I, who was worshipper of Shiva Vasudeva I was the last great king of the Kushan dynasty. After his death in 232 AD the empire disintegrated away. >>>>>>> >>>>>>> Significance of the Kushan Empire The political significance of the Kushan empire lies in the integration of central Asia with north India as a part of a single empire. Sanskrit literature began to be developed during this time of Kushan dynasy. The 4th Buddhist council was held in Sanskrit language. Ashvoghosha is considered to be the 1st Sanskrit dramatist. During this time, three distinct schools of art flourished: Gandhara School in north-west India Amaravati School in Andhra Mathura School in the Ganges valley Trade prospered between India and China, and India and the Roman Empire. The Kushan Empire controlled large parts of the Silk Route which led to the propagation of Buddhism into China. In the time of Kushan dynasty rule Buddhism began to spread in Korea and Japan as well. Many towers, Chaityas, towns and beautiful sculptures were built under the patronage of the Kushan dynasty rulers. Kushan dynasty was foreign invaders in the starting, but they were completely Indianised in ways and culture. It is said that the Kushan period in Indian history was a perfect forerunner to the golden age of the Guptas. >>>>>> Add a Comment Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.