A Fresh Assessment of Kantideva in The Light of Newly Discovered Coins


This paper provides a historical narrative of three recently discovered silver coins which indicate that Kantidatta was a name of a king who issued these coins. A copper plate was discovered in 1920, in an old temple in Chittagong and now it is preserved in the Bangladesh National Museum. This record disclosed the name of a king Kantideva who ruled Harikela kingdom. The inscription also reports that the name of his grandfather was Bhadradatta and his father’s name was Dhanadatta. So, it clearly indicates that king Kantideva was a member of a Datta family. The inscription and these coins have been discovered almost in the same region. The script of the coins and the inscription are almost from the same period from paleographic point of view. On the basis of the coins and inscription, it is our assumption that Kantidatta and Kantideva was the same person who had issued these coins and inscription. The inscription also reports that king Kantideva, his father and grandfather were Buddhists. But the coins bear the bull, trident and the crescent symbols which are related to the Saiva cult. At the same time, the seal of the inscription bears ‘a seated lion in a temple and two snakes’ symbols. The causes of affixing to all these composite symbols in the inscription and the coins have been critically discussed in this paper and the history of Kantideva has been reviewed on the basis of the above noted sources.

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