Kuṣāṇa Donative Inscriptions

The Kuṣāṇa donative inscriptions in this project consist of sixteen EHS/Brāhmī inscriptions found at Mathurā and ten Gāndhārī/Kharoṣṭhī inscriptions. These inscriptions have been selected based on the coherence of the epigraph, clarity of the image, type of donation documented, and historical relevance. The sixteen EHS/Brāhmī inscriptions include:

  • Buddhist (9)
    • KI 018: Buddhamitrā Bodhisattva – Kosam, Uttar Pradesh – stone, year 3
    • KI 025: Dharmanandin Kapardin Buddha – Mathurā, Uttar Pradesh – stone, year 4
    • KI 049: Nāgarakṣita Amitābha Buddha – Govind Nagar, Mathurā, Uttar Pradesh – stone,                  year 26
    • KI 056: Viraṇa Kapardin Buddha – Ahicchatra, Uttar Pradesh – stone, year 32
    • KI 077: Buddhavarma Śākyamuni – Jamālpur, Mathurā, Uttar Pradesh – stone, year 51
    • KI 095: Balā Śākyamuni – Caubārā, Mathurā, Uttar Pradesh – stone, year 75
    • KI 147: Kāyastha Śramaṇas Buddha – Mathurā, Uttar Pradesh – stone, year 93
    • KI 168: Samghilā Buddha – Mohalla, Mathurā, Uttar Pradesh – stone, year (1)14
    • KI 182: Vidyamatī Śākyamuni – Sanci, Madhya Pradesh – stone, year (1)22
  • Jain (2)
    • KI 070: Yaśa Jina – Kaṅkālī Ṭīlā, Mathurā, Uttar Pradesh – stone, year 48
    • KI 167: Śrāvikas Jina – Ahicchatra, Uttar Pradesh – stone, year (1)12
  • Nāga (1)
    • KI 65a: Senahastin and Bhoṇḍaka Nāga – Char̥gaon, Mathurā, Uttar Pradesh – stone, year 40
  • Indic (2)
    • KI 164: Sons of Viśvila Kārttikeya – provenance unknown – stone, year (1)11
    • KI 183: Droṇala Pillar – Īsāpur, Mathurā – stone, year (1)24
  • Imperial (2)
    • KI 007: Humaṣpala Devakula – Maṭ, Mathurā – stone, undated [Vima Takto]
    • KI 009: Kaniṣka I Statue – Maṭ, Mathurā – stone, undated [Kaniṣka I]

Fourteen of these donative inscriptions represent the major religious groups active in Northern India during the Kuṣāṇa period and the two imperial inscriptions are historically significant. The EHS/Brāhmī inscriptions span from the reigns of Vima Takto (ca. 90-113 CE) to Vasiṣka (ca. 249-57 CE) and include examples from Kaniṣka I (ca. 127-150 CE) and Kaniṣka II (ca. 231-49), whose shared name and overlapping dates due to the dropped hundreds in the second Kuṣāṇa century has made ascribing these inscriptions to specific Kaniṣka difficult.

The ten Gāndhārī/Kharoṣṭhī inscriptions include six relic donations, two images of the Buddha, one chapel, and a well donation. The Balasami Chapel (CKI 53) is the earliest Kuṣāṇa inscription, dated in year 56 CE in the beginning of Kujula Kadphieses’ rule (ca. 50-90 CE) and the last Kuṣāṇa inscription is the Samadavhara Well dated to 268 CE in the reign of Kaniṣka III. The ten Gāndhārī/Kharoṣṭhī Kuṣāṇa donative inscriptions are as follows:

  • Reliquaries (6)
    • CKI 60: Urasaka – Dharmarājikā, Taxila – silver sheet, year 136 (Azes)
    • CKI 145: Mahasena and Saṃgharakṣita – Shāh-ji-ki Ḍherī, Peshāwar – gilded bronze cylinder, undated [Huviṣka]
    • CKI 149: Lala – Māṇikiāla, Rāwalpiṇdi – stone relic chamber slab, year (1)18
    • CKI 152: Gotama – provenance unknown – stone relic box-lid, year 18
    • CKI 153: Śveḍavarma – Kurram Valley, FATA, Pakistan – copper sheet, year (1)20
    • CKI 155: Saṃghamitra – Hadda, Jalalabad – earthenware pot, year 28/(1)28
  • Images (2)
    • CKI 161: Dharmapriya Buddha – Mamāne Dheri, Pesahwar District – stone, year 89
    • CKI 232: Budhanda Buddha – provenance unkown – stone, year (1)05
  • Chapel (1)
    • CKI 53: Balasami Chapel – Takht-i-Bahi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – stone slab, year 103 (Azes)
  • Well donation (1)
    • CKI 158: Samadavhara Well – Ara, Attock District, Punjab – stone slab, year (1)41

The entire Kuṣāṇa epigraphic corpus as recently been compiled (Skinner 2017) and other collections of Kuṣāṇa inscriptions include Mathurā inscriptions (Lüders 1961), a list of dated Kuṣāṇa inscriptions (Shrava 1993), and a database of Kuṣāṇa period inscriptions found on Robert Bracey’s website: http://www.kushan.org/inscriptions/index.htm.