By Mostafa Vaziri (auth.)
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Extra info for Buddhism in Iran: An Anthropological Approach to Traces and Influences
During this period, the Khotani language, Tokhāri, and Greek were used, while to the south of the Hindu Kush, Sanskrit, Prākrit (Middle Indic), and Kharushti (an old script used to write Sanskrit and Gandhāri languages) were used. This was the case until the Sasanid encroachment into western Kushān territories, a time when the Middle Persian language and Pahlavi script became prevalent. The Kushān king Kaniśka promoted Buddhism and brought about the zenith of intellectual and artistic Buddhism; he is sometimes considered the second Aśoka for his patronage of Buddhism.
The rise of the Kushān dynasty (ca. E. in modern-day Afghanistan and Khurāsān brought Buddhism to the doorstep of Iran and with an unimpeded free flow of exchange. In Khurāsān during the cultural openness of the Kushān period, cross-influences, common languages, and legacies connected the Iranian and Buddhist cultures. The ancient and medieval contacts of the Iranian with the Buddhist world occurred through direct geographical proximity and Buddhist settlements in Iran, as well as indirectly through travel, missionary, trade, and migration.
65 On a different level, the fusion of artistic schemes between Zoroastrianism and Buddhism in Khurāsān and Central Asia, however, offers more than just coincidental similarities. E. 71 Some of these cross-cultural similarities make it difficult to be precise about the original source of influence. As further evidence of iconographic intermingling, in Buddhist vihāras many paintings exhibit shared Iranian-Buddhist iconography. 72 Besides cross-influences manifesting during the Kushan period, Sasanid influences on Buddhist art can also be found.