Last edited Aug.28, 2002
Size 22.1 mm, weight 4.1 g|
Obverse - Mu Guo Yuan Bao - Liao Dynasty
Reverse - plane
Image of the fake coin
Information about this coin is present in literature, but with different opinions on its origin.
When I first time placed webpage with this coin in February of 1998, I've read that legend as Zhuang Guo Yuan Bao. Then I received messages from different persons noting that currently numismatists read legend as Mu Guo Yuan Bao. After the publishing of the article http://www.charm.ru/coins/china/zhuangguo-quanbi.shtml I prefer version with my first suggestion.
Message from David Hrivnak (15-Jul-98):
Message from Wybrand Op den Velde (31-Jul-98):
Message from Gilbert Tan (01-Aug-98):
Most of the pieces discovered have come from Northern China and so it is very likely to be from the Liao Dynasty. The only reason why it was once suspected to be of Vietnamese origin is because it is a very thin and small coin, like the normal Vietnamese coins.
Message from John Liang (04-Aug-98):
Vladimir Belyaev (31-May-00):
Message from Robert Kokotailo (31-May-00):
The coins lower down on the page have a more genuine look to them, but I also doubt they are Liao Dynasty coins. Early Liao coins tend to be very poorly cast, but of fairly good weight (2.5 grams or more). Later Liao coins tend to be much better cast and of very good weight (about 3.0 grams or higher). Weights in the 1.5 gram range do not may sense with respect to the Liao Dynasty at all.
In fact, 1.5 grams weights do not make sense in the entire medieval Chinese series. I am not aware of any post Sui Dynasty Chinese coin that averages less than 2 grams. This weight is consistent with some medieval Vietnamese issues, but they always seem to have very poorly developed rims and weak characters, unlike those illustrated which have strong rims and characters.
If these coins are in fact of medieval origin (some of them certainly look to be), they have to be some type of non-offical (i.e. Warlord type) issues from a time of chaos such as existed in the mid-10th century, but unless some are found in a context that shows their origin, we may never know for sure.
Based on the 1.5 grams weights, there is a strong possiblility that none of these coins are genuine and the type may not actually exist.
Message from Gilbert Tan (01-Jun-00):
Message from Francois Thierry, Chief-curator of Oriental Coins in Cabinet des Medailles, Paris, France (08-Jun-00):
These coins and the muguo coins have two typological particularities: the calligraphy of yuan character and the hole that is proportionnaly greater than the hole of the Liao coins. I thinks that it would bee interesting to compare the form of yuan with that of other Chinese coins...
Additional comment from Francois Thierry (09-Jun-00):
If we'll check the Later Jin Tian Fu yuanbao coins in the Shanghai Museum, it is possible to see two group of coins, the first is of normal weigth coins and the second of lighter coins less than 2 grams:
Concerning the Liao coins, I would give the reference of a collection of Chinese and Japanese articles published in 1993 in Hohote (Inner Mongolia) by Mr Zhang Gongping and others: "Liao dai huobi wenji". In this book you can find some very interesting papers on muguo and zhuguo coins.
"Liao dai huobi wenji" collects different papers of different times of scholars of different opinions: for example you can find a paper that says that the "Khai Thai nguyen bao" is not a Vietnamese Tran coin but a Liao one, or that the "Thien Khanh thong bao" (1426-1427) is not a Vietnamese coin but a Liao too. Concerning the muguo and zhuguo coins, you can find different opinions. I have not yet seriously study these coins, but I make some remarks, in general...
For me the only valuable data is the text of the "Xin Wudai shi". The second important data would be the archaeological excavations and the location of the discoveries of these coins; but as you know it is very difficult to obtain recent local archaelogical or numismatic publications from China, because many of these local publications are often classified "neibu" (for inner diffusion only). I think that the publication of archaeological discoveries of coins or coin hoard in North or North-West China could give us informations: where the most part of these coins are precisely found? That is the question. <By the note of Gilbert Tan, most of those coins were found in the Liaodong and Inner Mongolia regions - VB>
I have never seen a muguo or a zhuguo in Vietnam coin market, and in French literature on Indochinese archaeology I never find mention of a discovery of a such coin. The main problem is Liao or Later Jin? Yes... but we have the text of the "Xin Wudai shi"...
In our Cabinet we don't have any "muguo" or "zhuguo" coins...
Message from William Hill (20-Aug-02):
Between "Zhuang" and "Mu", there is a big difference: The "Zhuang" usually has one more dot, still, sometimes this dot also can be off, if the writing were not very formal. Liao also had a difficult time when they were very weak, and even need their temples to "assiste them".
I've translated the article by Mr.Gao from Quanbi jornal into English. Also a 1993 book called "Articles on Liao Money" (Liao Dai Huo Bi Wen Ji) collected Mr.Gao's opinion, but there are some mis-printings. In this 1993 book, we can find 8 articles on Zhu Guo, and Zhuang Guo, and more mentioned in others.
The further developing after 1993 is:
2) Liao or Liao's puppet was the caster;
3) More specimens were found, all from Liao's places.
Message from Alex Chengyu Fang (23-Aug-02):
xin mao xuan wu jun jie du shi yang guang yuan jin zhu guo qian
"[On the Xinmao day of the fourth summer month of the second year], Yang Guang-yuan, the Governor-Commander of the Xuanwu Army, presented Zhuguo coins."
Two points are worthing noting here: First, no actual amount was mentioned in the text. Second, it is apparent that Zhuguo here refers to the inscriptions of the coins. As a native speaker of Chinease, it is not natural or likely interpretation to me that the coins were for the purpose of assisting the country.
Message from William Hill (23-Aug-02):
Here, I have a summury:
2) "Wu Dai Shi" means "History of Five Dynasties". A historist named Xu Ju-zheng wrote the old version, which was call "Jiu Wu Dai Shi" later. Mr.Xu did not put clear of the exact quantity of the coin. Another famous historical guy called Ou-yang Xiu wrote a new version, which was named Xin Wu Dai Shi later. Mr.Ou-yang's whole version is still available nowadays, and in his version, he recorded the exact quantity.
3)The "Xin Wu Dai Shi" records as below:"...Jin Zhu Guo Qian 300000 Guan ...", some Pubs' version says "...200000 Guan ...".
So, some people said, by "Zhu Guo Qian", the author means "Zhu Guo Yuan Bao"; but some others believe that the author was trying to tell us that General Yang was tributing 300000 strings of coins as bribe under the name of "helping the country". So "Zhu Guo" here is an attribute of "Qian".
Message from Alex Chengyu Fang (23-Aug-02):
Among those, 15 are unambiguously interpreted as "for the purpose of assisting the country" through the use of linguistic structures indicating "for the purpose of" and "in order to". These are all adverbial or independent clauses.
Only two occurrances of Zhuguo were found in an attributive position. One is clearly attributive indicated by the presence of Zhi (a character indicating possession and attribution). The other example is the sentence of our focus attention, without Zhi and thus lends itself to the interpretation as a compound noun.
In short, this sentence is a unique use among the 16 similar instances. Its unique structure seems to confirm my initial, intuitive interpretation of the compound noun as referring to the coin inscriptions. Please find attached my key-word-in-context analyses of the 16 examples.
Message from William Hill (27-Aug-02):
Usually one Guan, or one string of coins will be about 1000 pieces, and it would be equal to about 1 ounce of silver. 300,000 Guan would be about 300,000 silver dollars, that's a reasonable sum for any helping or bribe purpose. In order to fit the fact that the both coins are very rare, we will have to understand that Yang Guang-yuan contributed only 3 dollars, or let's say 300 dollars, but in a surprising way made the history recorded him. At South Sung Dynasty time, a person called Hong Zun wrote a numismatics book, called Quan-zhi. His time was very near to both Wu Dai [Five Dynasties], and Liao, or the Lishu writing time. But he did not mention the both coins in his book. Actually, this two coins was not in sight of any ancient numismatists, until the year of 1842. Here below please find the Chinese study history on them:
By the way, Xuan-wu Jun did not mean Xuan-wu Army, but we can call it Xuan-wu State or Xuan-wu Province. Xuan-wu Jun was occupied by another warlord named Shi Jin-tang after Yang Guang-yuan was defeated by him, and then after, when Shi Jin-tang began to play a role of puppet of Liao, Xuan-wu Jun was contributed to Liao as a part of 16 states of "Yun Yan".<In the History of the Liao (Liao Shi) we can read: '[927-947 AD] Shih Ching-t'ang2 offered the cash which had been accumulated along the border in order to provide supplies for the army.' - VB, 28-Aug-02>
And, If the recording concerning Yang Guang-yuan means inscription of the coins, it will be the only one exception that all the other Zhu Guo recordings did not focus on detailed inscription of the tributary coins. If we believe that Yang Guang-yuan cast Zhu Guo Yuan Bao, and his tributary covered this coins, together with some others, then how can we understand why the other inscriptions were not mentioned?
Any additional comments on this subject would be appreciated.
You can sent it to Sergey Shevtcov and Vladimir Belyaev.