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August 2011

Liao Dynasty Charm

Liao Dynasty Charm thumbnail

The Liao Dynasty (辽朝 916-1125) was ruled by a nomadic people known as the Qidan (Khitan 契丹) and occupied an area of the northern prairies of China that included Manchuria, a portion of Mongolia, as well as parts of Hebei and Shanxi provinces. Charms from the Liao Dynasty are fairly rare and, because the Qidan [...]

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Chinese Rock Art of “Feather Man” or Alien

Chinese Rock Art of “Feather Man” or Alien thumbnail

A giant boulder with a prehistoric carving of either the mythical Chinese “Feather Man” or an “alien from outer space” was recently discovered by archaeologists near a village in Guangdong Province. An article entitled “Guangdong’s Luoding Village Discovers Rare Rock Art” describes the rock drawing as a person wearing a helmet with a feather attached [...]

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Chinese Chess Pieces Found in Old Tomb

Chinese Chess Pieces Found in Old Tomb thumbnail

According to a report in the Yangzi Evening News, archaeologists recently unearthed five ancient Chinese chess (xiangqi 象棋) pieces from a tomb located at Tiger Hill in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. The tomb dates from the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Archaeologist Mr. Zhang Tiejun (张铁军) emphasized that, among the burial objects, only five Chinese chess pieces were [...]

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1910 Chinese Yunnan Spring Dollar

1910 Chinese Yunnan Spring Dollar thumbnail

With only two specimens known to exist, the Yunnan Spring Dollar is considered among the very rarest of Chinese coins. One coin sold for $1,035,000 at a Hong Kong auction in August 2010.  The only other known specimen is scheduled to be auctioned in September 2011. As you might expect, there is a great deal [...]

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Empress Dowager Cixi Commemorative Coin

Empress Dowager Cixi Commemorative Coin thumbnail

A recent Chinese newspaper article published pictures of a very rare Chinese silver coin which is believed to have been minted to commemorate the birthday of one of imperial China’s last rulers.  The coin is owned by a Mr. He who lives in Anqing City in Anhui Province. The Empress Dowager Cixi (慈禧太后 1835-1908) was [...]

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Good Fortune, Salary, Longevity and Happiness

Good Fortune, Salary, Longevity and Happiness thumbnail

One of the major characteristics of Chinese charms is the rebus or “visual pun” where a picture is used to represent a word.  While it can sometimes be challenging, it is always interesting to figure out what, at first glance, the haphazard collection of animals and objects displayed on a Chinese charm are supposed to [...]

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