Ancient India

The Asoka Rock, Junagadh

Pictured here is the Girnar Rock Edicts in Junagadh, Gujarat, photographed by D. H Sykes in 1869. Located on the foothills of the Mount Girnar in Gujarat, the Girnar Rock Edicts, also known as the Junagadh Rock Inscriptions, are collections of 14 significant Prakrit edicts or inscriptions credited to Ashoka, the 3rd century Mauryan King.… Read more »

Gondophares (Indo-Parthian), Silver Tetra Drachm

The Indo-Parthian kingdom was the largest sub-kingdom of the Parthian Empire, which at its peak expanded from Turkey to Eastern Iran. It was located west of the Parthian homeland and was founded in the late 1st century BC by the first of several kings named Gondophares – a Scythian or Saka king as well as… Read more »

The mythical origins of shadow puppets

Made in China, made in India, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, or even Turkey, the tradition of shadow puppets has survived for a long time, the second century BC, some say. But as is also custom, scholars have many disagreements on its origins. Folklorist Stuart Blackburn suggests that this tradition, like Buddhism, travelled to the rest of… Read more »

Antialcidas, Silver Drachm of Bactria Mint

Greek coinage unlike the early Indian punchmark coins were very finely made. They went beyond the use of symbols to include bilingual legends, and bear-headed and helmeted busts of kings and gods from the Greek pantheon. The rule of the Indo-Greeks covers a period of 300 years from 2nd Century BC to 1st Century CE.… Read more »

Krishnadevaraya, Gold Pagoda Coin of Vijayanagara

This should give you an idea of how powerful the Vijayanagara dynasty was: they changed the entire currency system in south India. It was the ruler Hari Hara II who impressed upon the administration the importance of collecting state revenue in currency instead of in kind. This led to the mass production of coins in… Read more »

Raja Raja Chola I, Silver Fanam

Raja Raja Chola I was a renowned king who ruled over the Chola kingdom in southern India from 985 to 1014 CE. Regarded by many as one of the greatest kings in Indian history, he was a celebrated conqueror and an efficient administrator. It was during his reign that the Cholas were able to subdue… Read more »

Kochiputra Sri Satakarni, Copper Coin

When the Mauryan empire fell, ancient India saw some new kingdoms take root, which then went on to become formidable dynasties of their own—the Satavahanas are a prime example. They emerged in southern India in the middle of the 1st Century BC and their reign lasted till the 3rd century CE, making them the longest… Read more »

Vima Kadphises, Copper Coin

The Kushanas or Kouei Shuang were the descendants of the ancient Central Asiatic clan of Yueh-chi. They ruled parts of the Bactrian region (Afghanistan and Tajikistan) in the early 1st Century CE. What makes this coin special is that it shows the syncretic spirit of this empire and offers evidence of the king’s assimilation with… Read more »