80 - 95 AD - Kushan - Vima Takto

Copper - Dracham

A small copper Drachm of Kushan with a horseman. The legend Soter Megas (the Great Savior) has been identified with Vima Takto (80 - 95 AD). This Drachm was found in Katharagama in Ruhuna, Lanka, which took part in trade in gems and spices along the ancient Silk Route.

TypeStruck ?
Diameter12.2 mm
Thickness2.5 mm
Weight1.88 gms
kushan_dracham_cu_obverse kushan_dracham_cu_reverse
Obverse : Silhouette of bust of king facing right, holding whip in dotted circle. The helmet appears like the head of an animal(deer?).
Reverse : King seated on standing horse facing right with his arm stretched out forward with a cross. 3 pronged tamgha in front. Cape represented by two wavy lines behind cone-shaped helmet. Indistinct Greek legend Soter Megas along periphery.

The reverse looks to me like the classic representation of colonial invasion : a crusade knight on horseback with his arm stretched forward with a religious cross.

This small dracham of king Vima Takto is not in the 1999 catalog by Osmund Bopearachchi and Rajah Wickramasinhe titled Ruhuna. An Ancient Civilization Re-visited, where Kushans (G.3 - G.10) are listed under Coins of Foreign Origin. It was obtained directly from the same collector who provided most of the items for that book.

From same source I also obtained a lower grade Kushan Dracham coin of practically same size and weight but crude style which maybe a contemporary Indo-imitation.

Please compare with figures on AE Tetradrachm (Taxila series) in particular Mitchiner ACW 2953 which I can be seen in Tom Mallon's Kushan page, and coin I purchased from a dealer in US in 2003 Sept.

Katharagama in Ruhuna, Lanka is an ancient site of Hindu worship that has attracted pilgrims from distant lands. These coins are found when panning for gems in the Manik ganga which is a river that flows through Katharagama.

The fine/good grade coin was scanned at 600 dpi and displayed at 500 dpi. It was obtained in 2001 December from Mr A. Ratnayaka a collector in Katharagama, Lanka.
I thank Don Robertson for his identification in reply to my question on southasia-coins group.