Abstract: This essay discuses the significance of the unique gold coin of the Kushan king, Huviška. The legend on the coin reads Imšao which recalls the ancient Indo-Iranian mythic figure, Yima/Yama. It is contended that the reason for which Yima/Yama is portrayed on the coin with a bird on his hand is not the idea of Glory and his reign, but rather the paradaisical state according to the Wīdēwdād, where Yima/Yama ruled over the world. It is contended that Huviška aimed at presenting himself in this manner to his subjects who were familiar with the Avestan and mythic Indo-Iranian lore.
Key words: Imšao, Huviška, Kushan, Karšiptar, Yima, Yama.
In 1984 Robert Göbl, in his study of the coinage of the Kushan Empire, published a unique gold coin of king Huviška. In the same year, Frantz Grenet published a major article laying out the importance of this coin for king Huviška's religious ideology. This specific coin depicts a standing male figure wearing a sword around his waist and donning a tiara decorated with a ribbon. The figure also holds a spear in his left hand while a bird is shown sitting on his outstretched right hand. Although the legend on the coin is quite clear and readable, the coin and the study of the iconographic representations on it have proven to be quite challenging. In this article it is argued that the standing figure and the bird depicted on the reverse of the coin represents king Yima, the mythological Iranian ruler. We have also argued that the bird on his hand, unlike most cases, is not a falcon, but a lark or čakāvak.
In most of Huvishka's coinage, on the obverse, we have the bust of the king and the legend reads: Šaonanošao Oohški Košano “Of the King of Kings, Huviška the Kushan.” While the obverse of his coins do not pose a great challenge, the reverse of Huviška's coin make it's reading uclear. It is suggested that the reverse of most of Huviška's coins depict a deity, a hypothesis that is strengthened by the legend found next to the figures on the reverse. The legends read the names of Indo-Iranian deity such as: Farr, Mithra, Nana, Veš, or a Hellenistic deity, namely Heracles.