Kushan Empire, Kanishka I "The Great", 78-151 AD, Gold Dinar, 7.86g, 20mm
Obv: Kanishka standing, wearing a flat cap, clad in heavy Kushan coat and long boots, sword at waist, flames emanating from shoulders, holding standard in his left hand, and making a sacrifice over an altar with right hand holding what looks like a shortened elephant goad. Kushan-language legend in Greek script (with the addition of the Kushan Ϸ "sh" letter): ϷΑΟ ΝΑΝΟ ϷΑΟ ΚΑΝΗϷΚΙ ΚΟϷΑΝΟ ("Shao nano shao Kanishki Koshano"):"King of Kings, Kanishka the Kushan". The legend starts circular from the left at 7 'o' clock (near the kings right feet), breaks at 12 'o' clock and continues at 1 'o' clock ending at the kings left feet at 5 'o' clock.
Rev: Deity MIIPO ie Mithra, radiate and nimbate, holding club in left hand with right hand extended, and wearing a thin transparent gown, kushan tamgha to the left, all within a circular dotted border. Mithra (or Mithras) is the Zoroastrian divinity (yazata) of covenant and oath. In addition to being the divinity of contracts, Mithra is also a judicial figure, an all-seeing protector of Truth, and the guardian of cattle, the harvest and of The Waters.
Kanishka's coins from the beginning of his reign bear legends in Greek language and script and depict Greek divinities. Later coins bear legends in Bactrian or Khota-Sakanese, the Iranian language that the Kushans evidently spoke, and Greek divinities were replaced by corresponding Iranic ones. All of Kanishka's coins – even ones with a legend in the Bactrian language – were written in a modified Greek script that had one additional glyph (Ϸ) to represent /š/ (sh), as in the word 'Kushan' and 'Kanishka'.
On his coins, the king is typically depicted as a bearded man in a long coat and trousers gathered at the ankle, with flames emanating from his shoulders. He wears large rounded boots, and is armed with a long sword similar to a scimitar as well as a lance. He is frequently seen to be making a sacrifice on a small altar.
Buddha was depicted for the first time in human form on Kanishka's coins.
The attached headless image of a sculptor in Mathura Museum attests to the kings posture depicted on the coin. Interestingly, the kings feet are spaced wide apart making him appear bigger on the coins. It also depicts confidence and creates an aura of a ruler, a conqueror, a king destined to rule, a son of God or Deva-putra with flames emerging from shoulder signifying claim to divinity. The king appears on the coin as heavy, thick set and imposing, someone born to order, command respect, create fear for opponents and rule undisturbed and unperturbed, someone who makes his own destiny.