157. Shiva’s Trident

Greater Gandhara, 3rd–4th century AD
Size: 48 × 42 cm

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Coins provide the evidence for the transformation of Hercules into Shiva, and Zeus into Vajrapani, in the early Kushan period. Before that, Shiva was represented by a trident, as here under an arch of pearl beds between Corinthian pillars. Vishnu was represented by a conch, and Buddha by his footprints, until the iconography of Greek divinities embodied both the Hindu pantheon and the story of the Buddha.