|Greco-Buddhist gold art of Afghanistan, the Bimaran Reliquary (britishmuseum.org)|
|The soapstone casket containing the urn|
When it was found by the archaeologist Charles Masson during his work in Afghanistan between 1833 and 1838, the stone casket contained coins.
The piece was dated as having been created or buried in the 1st century AD, which is when the coins are thought to date from, on the assumption that those coins were interred in it in the first place, when they were almost certainly added later when it was re-interred after its precious relics were looted.
|Rare Buddha pose, light dress (BM/W)|
The reliquary was found inside an inscribed steatite (soapstone) casket. The inscription records that the reliquary contained some of the actual bones of the Buddha. [See "Bones of the Buddha" (PBS TV) on "Vethadipa" and Cremating the Buddha's body (sutra)].
|The PBS special "Bones of the Buddha" explains the discovery of some of the relics (WQ)|
|Relics can look like pearls (mahastupa.org)|
Evidence of the Buddha's Ukraine connection
|The Buddha reclining into final nirvana (paranirvana), Gandharan art (wiki)|
|Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, all around Kapilavastu (wiki)|
The Scythians might well be the Shakyas of later Sakkastan. But history here is very muddled by nationalistic Indian claims, Nepalese counterclaims, British archeological discoveries and deceptions, such as the Jonesian frauds detected by Dr. Pal.
In any case, this magnificent relic container suggests that Siddhartha Gautama came from far north of India, somewhere west of the Indus river. If that is not the case, it is hard to imagine why people under a Gandharan/Indo-Pakistani king would have been involved in re-interring the Buddha's relics rather than plundering the treasure.
Whose coins were they?
|The British Museum (britishmuseum.org)|
However, due to new research by R.C. Senior (2008, "The Final Nail in the Coffin of Azes II," Journal of the Oriental Numismatic Society 197, 2008, pp. 25-27), his actual existence is now seriously in doubt, and "his" coins and so on are now thought to refer to those of Azes I.
And what it all goes to show is that history is a mess, just as the Buddha spoke of countless empires, kingdoms, and republics that rose to glory to invariably crumble. Even a "world monarch," or chakravartin, ruling in accordance with dharma in the noble/warrior-caste ideal, is not exempt from this revolving cycle. Who were these world ruler?