Chinese Coin and Changes in Monetary Preferences in Maritime East Asia in the Fifteenth-Seventeenth Centuries

in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
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In the twelfth-thirteenth centuries massive quantities of bronze coin issued by the Song dynasty in China were exported and became the de facto monetary standard throughout maritime East Asia. However, the cessation of minting by the Ming dynasty in the 1430s provoked a monetary crisis. Private coinage proliferated both in China and abroad, creating a profusion of heterogeneous transactional currencies and numerous regional monetary circuits. This paper examines monetary circulation in maritime East Asia—encompassing China, Japan, Ryūkyū, Vietnam, and Java—during the fifteenth-seventeenth centuries in order to re-assess the impact of Chinese coin in fostering monetary integration (and disintegration).

Chinese Coin and Changes in Monetary Preferences in Maritime East Asia in the Fifteenth-Seventeenth Centuries

in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

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References

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9

Richard von Glahn“Monies of Account and Monetary Transition in China, Twelfth to Fourteenth Centuries.” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 53/3 (2010): 463-505.

18

In 1415for example the Yongle Emperor bestowed gifts of baochao and Yongle coin on various foreign embassies including those from Calicut Cochin Lamuri Coimbatore Melaka and Samudera. See Ming shilu 明實錄 Taizong shilu 太宗實錄 169.1b.

23

François Thierry“Le monnaie vietnamienne, entre tradition việt et culture han.” Arts Asiatiques 61 (2006): 170-171; Thierry “Rei-chō (1428-1789) shita no Betonamu ni okeru senka ryūtsū.” 黎朝下のベトナムにおける銭貨流通 Shutsudo senka 出土銭貨 29 (2009): 55.

24

NgôĐại-Việt sử ký2: 729; 2: 748.

25

Tomé PiresThe Summa Oriental of Tomé Pires (London: Hakluyt Society1944) 1: 115.

40

Hui Kian KweeThe Political Economy of Java’s Northeast Coast c. 1740-1800: Elite Synergy (Leiden: Brill2006): 97-118.

52

Ethan Isaac SegalCoins Trade and the State: Economic Growth in Early Medieval Japan (Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center2011); Richard von Glahn “The Ningbo-Hakata Merchant Network and the Reorientation of East Asian Maritime Trade 1150-1300.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 74/2 (2014): 251-281. The pioneering study of this phenomenon is Ōta Yukio 大田由紀夫 “Jūni-jūgo seiki shoto Higashi Ajia ni okeru dōsen no ryufu.” 十二•十五世紀初頭東アジアにおける銅銭の流布 Shakai keizai shigaku 社会経済史学 61/2 (1995): 156-184. For digests of the debates over the impact of Chinese coin on the economy of medieval Japan see Ike Susumu 池享 “Zenkindai Nihon no kahei to kokka” 前近代日本の貨幣と国家. In Senka: zenkindai Nihon no kahei to kokka 銭貨: 前近代日本の貨幣と国家 ed. Ike Susumu (Tokyo: Aoki shoten 2001): 9-39; Ōta Yukio 大田由紀夫 “Chūsei Higashi Ajia no kahei ryūtsū” 中世東アジアの貨幣流通 in Shakai keizai shigaku no kadai to tembō 社会経済史学の課題と展望 (Tokyo: Yurinkaku 2002): 222-230; Takagi Hisashi 高木久史 “Nihon chūsei senka kaheishi kenkyū no genzai.” 日本中世銭貨貨幣史研究の現在 Rekishi hyōron 歴史評論 667 (2005): 14-24.

81

See Suzanne GayThe Moneylenders of Late Medieval Kyoto (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press2001).

Figures

  • View in gallery
    Dentan no taniji Hoard

    This ceramic urn buried on the site of a Buddhist temple in Ichijōdani (modern Fukui) contained over 116,000 coins (1,145 strings of 98-100 coins plus some loose coins), all but 332 of which are Chinese coins. An inscribed wooden tag records that the hoard was buried in the seventh lunar month of 1500.
  • View in gallery
    Javanese Lead Picis Coin

    The provenance of this coin is uncertain, but it probably dates from the seventeenthearly eighteenth centuries. The graphs at top and bottom, which on Chinese coins usually signified the imperial reign-title, are illegible because the large square hole has cut away parts of these graphs. The graphs at right and left read—as is true of many Song issues, but not Ming coins—yuanbao 元寶 or “primordial treasure”(the name also given to the standard 50-ounce silver ingot in China). c Trustees of the British Museum.
  • View in gallery
    Sealed Strings of Coin from Ryukyu

    In Ryukyu, the ends of strings containing 400-1,000 hatome or mumon coins were sealed with paper and stamped to validate their value as equivalent to a full string of coin.
  • View in gallery
    Genuine and Imitation Song

    Coins On the left are genuine Song coins ( from top to bottom, Taiping [Xingguo], Yuanfeng, and Shaosheng issues). On the right are privately-minted imitations of the same issues.
  • View in gallery
    Kajiki Imitation Hongwu Coin

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