Money and its Uses in the Javanese States of the Ninth to Fifteenth Centuries A.D.

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Jan Wisseman ChristieCentre for South-East Asian Studies, University of Hull

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Coins appeared relatively late in the history of maritime Southeast Asia. No indigenous coins have so far been dated to before the very end of the eighth or the beginning of the ninth century A.D. These early gold and silver (or silver alloy) coins, which seem to be unique to the region, have so far been found on the Malay peninsula, on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra, Java and Bali, and in the Philippines. The prototypes for these coins were almost certainly first minted in the Javanese state of Mataram, and the spread of their use was apparently linked to the expansion of this state's influence in the maritime trade networks. As the early Asian sea trade boom began to affect the domestic marketing patterns of Java, after the beginning of the tenth century, the need for large numbers of smaller denomination coins grew more pressing. Chinese copper cash were first imported, and then copied, in order to meet this demand.

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