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Numismatic evidence and the date of Kaniṣka I
Rienjang W. (ed.) 2018. Problems of Chronology in Gandhāran Art. p7-34 by Joe Cribb. DOI: 10.32028/9781784918552P7-34.
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The dating of sculpture from Gandhāra and its related regions is a difficultthing. As there are only a handful of sculptures bearing dates, all in unspecifiederas, any attempts at dating have to rely on a series of understandings, based on archaeological context, material and stylistic analysis, and iconographic development. What is often presumed without comment is the underlying chronological structure which gives such dating a relationship with the eras in use today. This structure has largely been constructed from four sources of evidence: dated inscriptions, numismatic sequences, the scarce references in historical texts, and attempts to match the era used by the Kushans with other Indian eras. Unfortunately the underlying chronological structure built from these has been in a state of fluxsince it was firstattempted. The proposal made in 2001 by Harry Falk that Kaniṣka Iís firstyear was in AD 127, based on the information about the relationship between the Kushan and Śaka eras in an astrological text, the Yavanajātaka by Sphujiddhvaja (Falk 2001), was the firstto call on a relatively contemporary source with concrete evidence. This proposal has become widely accepted, even though its implications have not yet been fully assimilated into the discourse on Gandhāran art. This date has also not yet been applied to the broader chronological structure, as it comes from a different form of evidence. So parts of the chronological structures are still attached to earlier solutions, based on different resolutions of the evidence. This paper attempts to show that the solution reached by Falk from the astrological text can also be demonstrated by recourse to the use of numismatic and inscriptional evidence, thereby suggesting that Falkís proposal has important implications for solving the problem of Gandhāran chronology and accordingly that of Gandhāran art too.


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