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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Forty-one of an original set of ninety-six domed buttons, cut and hammered from thin sheet debased gold, with small, copper alloy attachment loops soldered to the centre back (one button now in two pieces; one button fragment; several crushed or missing loops). Some of the loops have small lumps of resin (?) attached.


  • Date

    • 2ndC (late) (found with coins of Huvishka (c. AD150-191))
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Diameter: 21 millimetres (average)
  • Curator's comments

    IM.Metal.31-71: 'Gold buttons of thin gold with bronze loop riveted in the centre of the hollow side. From the tope of Guldara near Kabul where 96 buttons of this sort were found. See Ar. Ant. p.53 & Pl.III.3, 4'. South Kensington Museum no.1084/India Museum no.70: 'Silver box and forty-one gold buttons and fragments. Relics from Tope, near Deh Rahman' (i.e. Deh Rahman Stupa 1 which contained only the reliquary 1880.171 and corroded copper coins). A.W. Franks' 1880 accession list: 'Silver box, gold buttons [and the misplaced label] "Relics from Tope Deh Rahman of Duroonter".'
    E. Errington: Two labels found in relics deposits 'Box 4' relate to these entries. The first, written by Masson, is the one referred to in Franks' 1880 list, and also carries the later note in pencil '42 Relics'; the second, written by Franks (?) in pencil states ‘see [Wilson 1841] p.79 Deh Rahman, but these are not Deh Rahman relics. Guldara p.115’ (a reference to the find-spot of the gold buttons). Of the original total of 96 buttons excavated by Masson in 1834 from the relic deposit of Guldara stupa, there are now only 41 (one broken into two pieces, which gives Franks' total of 42). They were found with eight Kushan gold coins (Masson 1836, p.27, nos.1–2, pl.III.2–3; Wilson 1841, p.354, nos.3–4, p.375, nos.1–2, Coins pls.X.7–8, 10–11, 13, XIV.1–2): six of Wima Kadphises (c. AD 113–27) and two of Huvishka (c. AD 150–91). The relic chamber also contained ‘a small quantity of ashes and fragments of bones’ (Masson MSS Eur. E161/VII, ff.10, 17, 22). Five of the eight coins have been identified in the British Museum’s collection: see IOC.271, IOC.272, 1838,EIC.1 (Wima Kadphises), IOC.319, IOC.325 (Huvishka).


  • Bibliography

    • Masson MSS Eur. E161/VII ff.10, 17, 22 bibliographic details
    • Wilson 1841 pp.53-4, figs.3-4, Antiquities pl.III.3-4 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Excavated in 1834 (Masson Masson MSS Eur. E161/VII, ff.10,17, 22).

  • Department


  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • 1084 (South Kensington Museum no.)
    • 70 (India Museum no.)
    • IM.Metal.31-71 (British Museum no.: India Museum collection)
Set of forty-one gold buttons with bronze loops (one button now in two pieces).

Set of forty-one gold buttons with bronze loops (one button now in two pieces).

Image description



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