A Tangguo Tongbao (唐國通寶) cash coin with its inscription written in regular script.

The coinage of the Southern Tang dynasty (Traditional Chinese: 南唐貨幣) consisted mostly of bronze cash coins while the coinages of previous dynasties still circulated in the Southern Tang most of the cash coins issued during this period were cast in relation to these being valued as a multiple of them.

History

Main articles: Ancient Chinese coinage, Cash (Chinese coin), and List of Chinese cash coins by inscription

Daqi Tongbao

It is widely believed by Chinese numismatists that when the Kingdom of Southern Tang was established by Xu Zhigao under the name Great Qi that Xu Zhigao,[1] the Prince of Qi or by the founder of the Southern Tang with the original name of the Tang kingdom issued cash coins with the inscription Daqi Tongbao (大齊通寶), however only 2 specimens of this cash coin are believed to exist and the whereabouts of both of these are currently unknown as they have disappeared.[2] Another variant of the Daqi Tongbao cash coins has 4 holes and is therefore known under the name of "four eye Daqi cash coins" (四眼大齊錢, sì yǎn dà qí qián). A large number of imitation Daqi Tongbao cash coins are also known to exist which were cast from the moulds of Taiping Tongbao (太平通寶) cash coins and feature a calligraphic style similar to them.[3] It is very likely that during this period the cash coins of the earlier dynasties remained in use as the main currency in the Southern Tang kingdom.[4]

Cash coins issued under Li Jing

Under the reign Emperor Li Jing who first used the reign title Baoda (保大), cash coins were cast both in bronze and iron with the inscription Baoda Yuanbao (保大元寶) from the year 943 until 957,[2] however the bronze variants are extremely rare. In the year Xiande 5 (962) Li Jing cast the Yongtong Quanhuo (Chinese: 永通泉貨; pinyin: yǒng tōng quán huò; lit. 'Eternally circulating coin') which had a nominal value of 10 smaller bronze cash coins, however they only weighed 40% of how much value 10 cash coins usually weight.[4] Li Jing was short of funds for his army at that time. These cash coins were cast in both clerical ("official style", 隸書, lì shū) and seal script (篆書, zhuàn shū). Some of the cash Coins with inscriptions in seal script are diminutive in size and lightweight. Li Jing’s minister Zhong Mo obtained permission to cast large coins, one of them being equal to ten smaller coins, with this inscription. In 964, the coin was withdrawn when Zhong Mo incurred the displeasure of the Emperor.[2] It is also possible that the Yongtong Quanhuo cash coins were cast at a later date. As the people weren't used to fiduciary coinages they weren't accepted on the marked with their intended value.[4]

The Datang Tongbao (Chinese: 大唐通寶; pinyin: dà táng tōng bǎo) cash coins which have their inscriptions written in li script were produced in the year 959.[5] These cash coins are not as well-made as the later produced Tangguo Tongbao. There is exists a rare variety of the Datang Tongbao cash coins which is large in size and has a very broad rim.[2] Usually a cash coin that bears the name of the dynasty would be cast immediately after its establishment however these Datang cash coins were minted as its second official series, it is possible that this was done as a form of propaganda as 960 was the year that the Song dynasty was established around that time these cash coins started being manufactured.[4]

From the year Xiande 6 (963) Li Jing produced the Tangguo Tongbao (Chinese: 唐國通寶; pinyin: tang guó tōng bǎo) which are written in seal, li, and regular script. Initially the Tangguo Tongbao cash coins were cast in two different denominations,[6] one had a weight of 12 grams and a nominal value of 10 wén (當十, dāng shí), these cash coins had their inscription written in seal script. The other denomination of the Tangguo Tongbao had a nominal value of 2 wén (當二, dāng èr). It is notable that the 2 wén Tangguo Tongbao cash coins were cast as "matched coins" (對錢, duì qián, 對品, duì pǐn, 和合錢, hé hé qián) where they were released with inscriptions written in multiple types of Chinese calligraphy which in this case were li script and seal script although some versions tend to have a large star above the square center hole on the reverse side of the coin, other than there difference in calligraphy "matched coins" tend to have the same weight, composition, thickness, diameter, size of the square center hole, Etc. This technique which was first introduced under the Southern Tang would become very popular in the succeeding Song dynasty.[3]

Only a few years later the Tangguo Tongbao cash coins were cast in regular and seal scripts, these variants tend to have their inscriptions written in very small characters while they have a broad rim. Some versions of the seal script Tangguo Tongbao are quite rare such as a variety where there are large unusual characters while another variety has the "Tang" (唐, tang) character written with abbreviated strokes.[3] A variant of the Tangguo Tongbao cash coin with the character "Wu" (五) has been reported to exist, however the authenticity of these specimens is doubtful.[4]

Over the years both the Datang Tongbao and Tangguo Tongbao cash coins were being manufactured in lighter and smaller sizes, so it very unlikely that these cash coins would’ve maintained a nominal value of two Tang dynasty era Kaiyuan Tongbao cash coins.[3]

Cash coins issued under Li Yu

A Kaiyuan Tongbao (開元通寶) cash coin of the Southern Tang written in seal script.

In the year Qiande 2 (961) Li Yu ascended the throne,[7] and the resources of the country being exhausted, his minister Han Xizai obtained permission to cast coins. These were Kaiyuan Tongbao (Chinese: 開元通寶; pinyin: kāiyuán tōng bǎo) cash coins and are written in both clerical (or li) and seal script and date from 961. These distinguished from Tang dynasty period Kaiyuan Tongbao cash coins by the broader rims, and the characters being in less deep relief. The seal script writing was devised by the scholar Xu Xuan.[2] This coin was slightly larger than the old Kaiyuan Tongbao cash coins, and had broader rims, and was found convenient by both the government and the people. As they were massively produced these Kaiyuan Tongbao cash coins still exist in large quantities today.[3] As the Tangguo Tongbao cash coins also exist in very large quantities today it's suspected that they continued to be manufactured during the first two years of the reign of Li Yu.[4]

Among the variants of the Southern Tang era Kaiyuan coins are a variety which is large and appear to be very similar in appearance to the official script version of the Yongtong Quanhuo cash coins. Another variety of Southern Tang era Kaiyuan Tongbao cash coins is slightly smaller than the aforementioned coin but is actually still larger than a common type of cash coins. This version of the coin is believed to have been a 3 wén (當三, dāng sān) cash coin that may in fact have been a reduced weight version of a 10 wén cash coin. This variety is actually very rare.[3]

List of Southern Tang cash coins

See also: List of Chinese cash coins by inscription

Inscription Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Script Composition Period minted Catalogue numbers Obverse image Reverse image
Daqi Tongbao[a][8] 大齊通寳 大齐通宝 Clerical script Bronze 937 Hartill #15.104, FD #822
Baoda Yuanbao - Tian[9] 保大元寳 - 天 保大元宝 - 天 Clerical script Iron 943–957 Hartill #15.77, FD #812
Baoda Yuanbao - Tian[b][9] 保大元寳 - 天 保大元宝 - 天 Clerical script Bronze 943–957
Yongtong Quanhuo[9] 永通泉貨 永通泉货 Clerical script Bronze 959–964 Hartill #15.78, FD #809, Schjøth #439
Yongtong Quanhuo[9] 永通泉貨 永通泉货 Seal script Bronze 959–964 Hartill #15.79, FD #808
Tangguo Tongbao[c][9] 唐國通寳 唐国通宝 Seal script Bronze From 959 Hartill #15.80, Schjøth #441
Tangguo Tongbao[d][9] 唐國通寳 唐国通宝 Seal script Bronze From 959 Hartill #15.81
Tangguo Tongbao[e][9] 唐國通寳 唐国通宝 Seal script Bronze From 959 Hartill #15.82
Tangguo Tongbao[f][9] 唐國通寳 唐国通宝 Seal script Bronze From 959 Hartill #15.83, FD #814, Schjøth #442
Tangguo Tongbao[g][9] 唐國通寳 唐国通宝 Seal script Bronze From 959 Hartill #15.84
Tangguo Tongbao[9] 唐國通寳 唐国通宝 Seal script Iron From 959 Hartill #15.85
Tangguo Tongbao[h][9] 唐國通寳 唐国通宝 Seal script Bronze From 959 Hartill #15.86, FD #818
Tangguo Tongbao[i][9] 唐國通寳 唐国通宝 Clerical script Bronze From 959 Hartill #15.87, Schjøth #445
Tangguo Tongbao[j][9] 唐國通寳 唐国通宝 Clerical script Bronze From 959 Hartill #15.88, FD #816
Tangguo Tongbao[9] 唐國通寳 唐国通宝 Clerical script Iron From 959 Hartill #15.89
Tangguo Tongbao[k][9] 唐國通寳 唐国通宝 Clerical script Bronze From 959 Hartill #15.90, FD #817, Schjøth #444
Tangguo Tongbao[l][9] 唐國通寳 唐国通宝 Clerical script Bronze From 959 Hartill #15.91
Tangguo Tongbao[9] 唐國通寳 唐国通宝 Clerical script Lead From 959 Hartill #15.92
Tangguo Tongbao[m][8] 唐國通寳 唐国通宝 Regular script Bronze From 959 Hartill #15.93, FD #815
Tangguo Tongbao[n][8] 唐國通寳 唐国通宝 Regular script Bronze From 959 Hartill #15.94
Datang Tongbao[o][8] 大唐通寳 大唐通宝 Clerical script Bronze From 959 Hartill #15.95, FD #819, Schjøth #440
Datang Tongbao[p][8] 大唐通寳 大唐通宝 Clerical script Bronze From 959 Hartill #15.96, FD #820
Datang Tongbao[q][8] 大唐通寳 大唐通宝 Clerical script Bronze From 959 Hartill #15.97
Datang Tongbao[r][8] 大唐通寳 大唐通宝 Clerical script Iron From 959 Hartill #15.98
Kaiyuan Tongbao[s][8] 開元通寳 开元通宝 Seal script Bronze From 961 Hartill #15.99, FD #821, Schjøth #446
Kaiyuan Tongbao[t][8] 開元通寳 开元通宝 Seal script Bronze From 961 Hartill #15.100
Kaiyuan Tongbao[u][8] 開元通寳 开元通宝 Clerical script Bronze From 961 Hartill #15.101
Kaiyuan Tongbao[v][8] 開元通寳 开元通宝 Clerical script Bronze From 961 Hartill #15.102
Kaiyuan Tongbao[w][8] 開元通寳 开元通宝 Clerical script Bronze From 961 Hartill #15.103

Vault protector coins

Main article: Chinese numismatic charm § Vault Protector coins

The earliest known vault protector coin (鎮庫錢) known to exist is the Datang Zhenku (大唐镇库) which translates as "the Vault Protector of the Tang Dynasty" and was cast during the Baoda period of Li Jing. The diameter of these Datang Zhenku vault protector coins is 6 cm, and they have a thickness of 0.6 cm, the diameter of the square center hole is 1.24 cm and the Datang Zhenku coin weighs 93.7 grams.[10][11] Only one of these vault protector coins is known to exist and it was owned by a coin-collector from the city of Tianjin named Fang Yaoyu (方藥雨) during the beginning of the twentieth century and it was later owned by another private coin-collector called Chen Rentao (陳仁濤) before it ended up in the collection of the National Museum of China during the 1950s.[12] This vault protector coin was depicted on a silver commemorative coin issued by the People's Republic of China in 1998.[13]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Said to have been cast in 937 by the Prince of Qi or by the founder of the Southern Tang dynasty with the original name of the Tang kingdom. Only two specimens were known, and these have both now disappeared.
  2. ^ There is an extremely rare bronze version of this cash coin.
  3. ^ Reverse: Plain.
  4. ^ Reverse: Large dot above, further information: "Han dynasty coinage § Dots, crescents, circles, numbers, counting rods, Chinese characters, and other symbols appearing on coins".
  5. ^ Reverse: Crescent above.
  6. ^ Larger characters.
  7. ^ Smaller characters, short strokes at top of "Tang" (唐).
  8. ^ A large cash coin, worth 10 regular size cash coins.
  9. ^ Reverse: Plain.
  10. ^ Reverse: Large dot above.
  11. ^ Small cash coin. Reverse: Plain.
  12. ^ Small cash coin. Reverse: Crescent above.
  13. ^ One dot tong (通). Reverse: Plain.
  14. ^ Smaller cash coin.
  15. ^ Regular size.
  16. ^ Smaller cash coin.
  17. ^ Smaller cash coin. Reverse: Crescent above.
  18. ^ Smaller iron cash coin. Reverse: Crescent above.
  19. ^ Reverse: Plain
  20. ^ Reverse: Large dot above.
  21. ^ In Clerical (Li) script. Distinguished from Tang dynasty period Kaiyuan Tongbao cash coins (Hartill #14.1 &c) by the broader rims, and the characters being in less deep relief. Reverse: Plain.
  22. ^ Reverse: Inverted crescent below.
  23. ^ Reverse: Crescent left, dot right.

Catalogue numbers

References

  1. ^ Bian Xiaoxuan (卞孝萱) (1992), "Nantang (南唐)", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu (中國大百科全書), Zhongguo lishi (中國歷史). (Beijing / Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 2.) (in Mandarin Chinese)
  2. ^ a b c d e Hartill, David (2005). Cast Chinese Coins. Trafford, United Kingdom: Trafford Publishing. pp. 119–120. ISBN 978-1412054669.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Chinese coins – 中國錢幣". Gary Ashkenazy / גארי אשכנזי (Primaltrek – a journey through Chinese culture). 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Chinese Cast Coins - SOUTHERN T'ANG DYNASTY AD 937-978". By Robert Kokotailo (Calgary Coin & Antique Gallery – Chinese Cast Coins). 2018. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  5. ^ Chester L. Krause and Clifford Mishler. Standard Catalog of World Coins.
  6. ^ Fredrik Schjøth. Chinese Currency. Oslo, 1929
  7. ^ Zhongguo lishi da cidian bianzuan weiyuanhui (中國歷史大辭典編纂委員會) (ed. 2000), Zhongguo lishi da cidian (中國歷史大辭典) (Shanghai: Shanghai cishu chubanshe), Vol.2, pp. 3338, 3340. (in Mandarin Chinese)
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Hartill 2005, p. 120.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Hartill 2005, p. 119.
  10. ^ "Vault Protector Coins". Gary Ashkenazy / גארי אשכנזי (Primaltrek – a journey through Chinese culture). 10 June 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  11. ^ “Coins in China’s History” published in 1936 by Arthur B. Coole (邱文明).
  12. ^ Google Books - The Zhangs from Nanxun: A One Hundred and Fifty Year Chronicle of a Chinese Family by Laurence Chang. Retrieved: 16 September 2018.
  13. ^ Stephen Album (2022). "Auction 25 - Lot 867 - CHINA (PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC): AR 10 yuan, 1998. KM-1196. One ounce silver vault protector, dà táng zhèn kù (Great Tang (Dynasty) Storehouse Guard), Proof, ex Shèngbidébao Collection. Estimated Value $100 - 150. - Realized $85". Stephen Album Rare Coins (Member: American Numismatic Association, American Numismatic Society, Oriental Numismatic Society, California State Numismatic Association, Royal Numismatic Society, International Association of Professional Numismatists, Mumbai Coin Society, Florida United Numismatists, and Royal Canadian Numismatic Association). Retrieved 15 March 2022.