Post Mauryan Period: Kushana Empire
The Kushanas were one of the 5 tribes of Yeuh-Chi or Yuezhi with their origin traced to China. After they were driven out by Xiongnu in 170 BC, they came to India.
The important Kings in Kushana dynasty were namely Kujula Kadphises, Vima Taktu, Sadashkana, Vima Kadphises, Kanishka I, Vasishka and Kanishka II.
He was the one who crossed the Hindukush Mountains and founded the Kushana Empire. He got himself the title of Dharma-thida and Sachdharmathida. His titles show that he took interest in both religions, Shivaite as well as Buddhism.
Rabatak inscription was found in 1933 in Afghanistan which mentions that Vima Kadphises was son of Vima Takto and the father of Kanishka. The inscription is written on a rock in the Bactrian language and the Greek script. Vima Kadphises issued a large number of Gold Coins and is said to be the first ruler in India to introduce the gold coins in India.
He was the most illustrious ruler of the Kushana Empire and is known for his vast empire. His main capital was Purushpura(modern Peshawar). Kushana Empire reached its zenith under him and it extended from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan to Kashmir and Mathura. He had a conflict with Pataliputra and had taken Asvaghosa, the Buddhist Monk to Purushpura. He is credited with defeating Chinese general of King Han Ho-ti, the emperor of Han Dynasty. He patronized Buddhism and called the 4th Buddhist council in the Kundalvana of Kashmir. During Kanishka’s time Buddhism was divided into the Hinayana and Mahayana.
Art and Culture
The two schools of art, Gandhara School of Art and Mathura School of Art flourished in this era.
The cultural influence of the Hellenistic Greeks can be seen in these schools of arts.