Correct reading of the legend
of the cash coin Muguo Yuanbao

Muguo Yuanbao Qian Zheng Wu
right, proper, correct
Quanbi, No.12, page 1, May 1942.
Gao Shang-qian
Translation: William Hill


     Gu-Quan-Hui <'Collection of Ancient Coins' - WH>, Volume Zhen, records one piece of Mu Guo Yuan Bao on page 13, with a remark such as 'only the calling of Mu Guo is purprising'. Actually, it's a mistake of Mr. Li Zhu-peng < author of Gu-Quan-Hui - WH> to read zhuang as mu . All the numismatists of the past generations followed his wrong, but I feel doubtful on this identification. Occasionally, when once I was consulting Li-Bian < an old calligraphy book on Lishu writing style - WH>, Vowel Section Yang, No.41, Du-Shang Tablet, it was found out that the word zhuang in the sentence Kang Kai Zhuang Li was wrote like mu. So then, it's clear, zhuang guo has a similar meaning to zhu guo, and zhuang is more reasonable, but mu is out of the question. Basically, in Lishu writing style, the third stroke of zhuang goes down directly, and in mu, it will go left, that's the difference, and this is the exact key to the long time puzzle. You can feel how happy I am now!

      Editor Wang Ying-jia added comment as below:
      Mu Guo is unintelligible, not as meanful as Zhu Guo. Mr. Gao corrected it into Zhuang Guo, so then the doubt is crashed.

      Although the both coins are rare and precious, we did not know where and when they had been cast. I myself also wrote something on them, but no real study which can hit the point, until Mr.Gao geared into the slot, and corrected our mistake, he drove the provement from the classic tablet, and make his argument believable <Mr. Wang wrote an important article on Quanbi No.4, and stimulated the first wave of serious study on this two coins - WH>. Say, the original meaning of mu was near to zhuang, and according to the old using of Lishu, the similar writing words could be freely exchanged between each other. After got honour of being addressed by this letter, I immediately visited some bookstores, and finally got the Xiangyanyuyuan Pub's version < The book of Li-bian - WH>, which was re-craved by Tian-du's Huang-cheng in the year of Kuaihai, Qiang-long's reign time. (The both Pubs where keen on publishing, and good at sourcing different ancient versions. I have several kinds Huang's books, they can be an appendix to book collection.). Now, the original text is copied in the right side picture. Say, the reading's base is on right identification of the characters, if we can't dig deep to the original, the reading will be in vain. As numismatists, we need to pay more efforts to the characters studies, make all the ends meet, so then we can keep the original meaning same as the ancient people designed, avoid losting of the right way. This zhuang version in Du-Shang Tablet, shares a same side writing of mu in Kong-He Tablet, so I photoed them together for your reference. But if we study carefully on the coin, we can find out there are still some small differences. That's so called 'one has the third stroke goes directly down, the other gets it go left'.

      By Ying-jia, Feb.,24, spring of Renwu year.

Comments from translator:
      The two big characters in that picture are both zhuang's, in two versions of "Li-shu" writing style.
      The left one is the same as on "zhuang guo", and this specimen character was found from the stone "Du-Shang Tablet". The right side big character is also a "zhuang", which was found on "Kong-He Tablet". This two different versions share the same "side-writing".
      The left side big "zhuang" shows clearly a dot at the right-down corner. Some old fake coins did not have this dot (see top image at the page Because at that time, people know only "Mu Guo". But "Mu" means "male animals", who will adapt "male animal" as their own country name?

Vladimir Belyaev: For the help purposes next images added:
Character Mu/Zhuang on real coins (Hua Guanpu's #831-2 and
Click image to enlarge