Coins of Khingila, 5th century AD
Khingila is the first of the four kings mentioned on the Schřyen copper scroll inscription and therefore may have been the eldest or seniormost among them. Traditionally, Khingila is regarded as the Alchon king who started to make serious inroads into India, but there is no definitive evidence of this ... it is just that he was one of the few kings whose name could be read on the coins. Göbl thought Khingila was Toramana's father, which we now know from the copper scroll is almost certainly not true. Had their been any relationship between them, the scroll would surely have mentioned this, as a number of other familial relationships are documented in it. Also, Göbl assigned many coin types to Khingila, but this was more a reflection of his inability to definitively assign them to anyone else. Nevertheless, the earliest Khingila coins seem very close to the early anonymous types seen on the last page and, combining this with Khingila's primary position in the copper scroll list, it seems reasonable to list his coins first. Perhaps his rule did start first and perhaps he did make some conquests in Gandhara.


Khingila silver drachm, c. mid-5th century

Crowned bust of king facing right, with crescent forehead ornament and hanging ribbon ends
     "fly-whisk" shoulder ornaments, "bull" tamgha at right,
     Bactrian legend above: left: khiggilo, right: alchono /
Weight: 3.66g, Diameter: 30mm.
Ref: Göbl 61
A magnificent coin type with a beautiful, bold portrait and a number of innovations. The most important one is that the king is now crowned: he wears a diadem with hanging ribbon ends and a crescent forehead ornament. There are no ribbons attached to the necklace any more. The bull tamgha has made its way back to the right to accommodate the hanging ribbons in the left field. The king's name is now rendered in Bactrian: khiggilo (not very visible on this specimen because of the flatness between 9 and 11 o'clock). The Bactrian legend alchono has also made its way back ... here from 1 to 5 o'clock. Finally, a strange aspect is the appearance of the "fly-whisk" shoulder ornaments. We don't know their significance ... one theory is that they represent divinity in the way it was often represented by shoulder flames on Kushan coins.

Khingila ? silver drachm, c. mid-5th century

Crowned bust of king facing right, with crescent forehead ornament and hanging ribbon ends
     "fly-whisk" shoulder ornaments, "bull" tamgha at left, solar disc at right,
     Bactrian legend above: left: ???, right: alchono /
Weight: 2.80g, Diameter: 27mm.
Ref: Göbl 70
The attribution of this coin is uncertain ... Göbl read the legend at left as a retrograde shoyo and suggested an attribution to Khingila, but he attributed almost all problematic Alchon coins to that king. Nevertheless, it seems to me the coin is probably an issue of Khingila as it is clearly related to the previous coin and also to the next coin, previously unpublished, that does seem to have been issued by Khingila.

Khingila ? silver drachm, c. mid-5th century

Crowned bust of king facing right, with crescent forehead ornament and hanging ribbon ends
     "fly-whisk" shoulder ornaments, "bull" tamgha at left, solar disc at right,
     Brahmi legend at left: khinkila, Bactrian at right: alchono /
Weight: 3.51g, Diameter: 28mm.
Ref: Göbl --- (unpublished variant of G 70)
This coin, previously unpublished, appears to be an evolution from the previous one. The style is finer, but it retains the previous coin's fly-whisk shoulder ornaments, the bull/lunar tamgha at left, the solar disc at right, and the Bactrian legend alchono at top right. However, it inserts a Brahmi legend at top left that is somewhat difficult to read, but I believe reads khinkila. This is a known variant spelling of Khingila's name. This coin and the previous one form a "bridge" between the previous coin and the next coin, both of which are definitvely Khingila issues. Specifically, they retain the "fly-whisk" ornaments of the previous coin (not seen on coins definitively assigned to any ruler other than Khingila), but introduce the solar disc in the right field, which is seen on the next coin. Stylistically, this coin has a close affinity to the next coin.

Khingila silver drachm, c. mid-5th century

Crowned bust of king facing right, with crescent forehead ornament and hanging ribbon ends
     lunar crescents on shoulders, "bull" tamgha at left, solar disc at right,
     Brahmi legend above: left: devashahi, right: khingila /
Weight: 3.59g, Diameter: 28mm.
Ref: Göbl 81
Khingila's "final" issues evolve from the previous coin. They retain the tamgha at left and solar disc at right and the crescented diadem with the hanging ribbons, but then introduce a couple of significant changes. First, the "fly-whisk" shoulder ornaments are replaced by lunar crescents, probably to still emphasize the king's divinity, and the legend is now in Brahmi: devashahi khingila.
Source: The Coin Galleries: Khingila



In response to the migration of the Wusun (who were hard-pressed by the Rouran) from Zhetysu to the Pamir region, Khingila united the Uar and the Xionites in 460AD, establishing the Hepthalite dynasty.


See also Orlat Belt Plaques, 1st to 3rd century AD Sogdia, from The Armies of Bactria 700BC - 450 AD, Volume 2 by Valerii P Nikonorov
Frieze from Khaltchayan Reception Hall, 50 BC-50 AD, northern Bactria, Yuezhi, Kushan or Parthian
Gandharan cosmetic lids with hunting scenes, 4th-6th centuries AD
Silver Gilt Bowl with Hunting Scenes, North-west India, 5th-6th century. Probably of Bactrian manufacture. Possibly of Huna or Kidarite cavalry
Sogdian murals from Panjakent (Panjikant), 6th-8th Centuries
A Sogdian Mortuary Couch, Bas Relief, Anyang, Henan, 550-577AD

Tokharians and Uighurs of the Tarim Basin City States
Ancient Illustrations & Articles
Index of Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers


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