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Coin of the Kushan king Kanishka II with, on the reverse, a supposed depiction of Shiva and the word Oesho in modified Greek script.
Kushan worshipper with Shiva/Oesho, Bactria, 3rd century CE.[1]
Ravi Varma - Dattatreya

Oesho was a deity represented on the coins of several Kushan kings, and was apparently one of the titular deities of the dynasty.

The deity is identical with Shiva (I'sha), and "Oesho" would just be the pronunciation of Shiva's name in the Bactrian language of the Kushans.[2][3] The deity is shown to depict him holding a Trishul or Trident with a Bull often identified with Nandi.[4]

Similarities with Hindu Deity Dattatreya[edit]


The image/iconography of Kushan deity Oesho closely resembles that of Hindu Deity Dattatreya, who gain prominence in early medieval period.


  1. ^ Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition
  2. ^ The Dynasty Arts of the Kushans. University of California Press. 1967. pp. 92–93. 
  3. ^ Blurton, T. Richard (1993). Hindu Art. Harvard University Press. p. 84. ISBN 0-674-39189-6. 
  4. ^ Coins of Vima Kadphises