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September 2011

Xian Numismatic Museum

Xian Numismatic Museum thumbnail

The official opening of the Xian Numismatic Museum (西安钱币博物馆) was announced today in a Chinese newspaper article. The new money museum is located in the ancient city of Xian (西安), the capital of Shaanxi Province (陕西).  Xian, formerly known as Changan (长安), has a history of more than 3,100 years and was the eastern terminus [...]

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Chinese Palindrome Charm

Chinese Palindrome Charm thumbnail

A palindrome is a word or phrase that reads the same forward or backwards.  For example, “rats live on no evil star” is the same whether you read it left to right or right to left. Creating palindromes is actually much easier in Chinese, which uses “characters”, than in English which uses an alphabet.  If [...]

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Chinese “World of Brightness” Coin

Chinese “World of Brightness” Coin thumbnail

The first Chinese machine-made cash coins were minted during the reign (1875-1908) of Emperor De Zong of the Qing Dynasty. As seen at the left, these brass coins had the inscription guang xu tong bao (光緒通寶).  Many of these coins were struck at the mint in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province during the years 1889-1908. Another coin [...]

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More than 2,200 Rare “Later Jin Dynasty” Coins Discovered

According to an article published in today’s Liaoning Daily (辽宁日报), the local police have arrested a gang of thieves who unearthed more than 2,200 rare coins dating from the Later Jin (后金) Dynasty (1616-1636 AD). According to the report, the Bureau of Public Security of Liaoyang City (辽阳市) has arrested three men suspected of the [...]

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Store Signs of Ancient Chinese Coins

Store Signs of Ancient Chinese Coins thumbnail

Store signs (招牌) in ancient China started to become common during the Song Dynasty (960-1127).  By the time of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, stores had developed several types of signs to establish their identity. The first store signs consisted of a simple piece of cloth with some Chinese characters which was hung [...]

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Chinese Chess Mooncakes

Chinese Chess Mooncakes thumbnail

Chinese chess or xiangqi (象棋) is one of the most ancient forms of chess. Old Chinese chess pieces, similar to the “chariot” (車) piece displayed here, were made of bronze and can date back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD). A complete set of these old Chinese chess pieces would be extremely difficult to collect. [...]

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Zithers and Grasshoppers

Zithers and Grasshoppers thumbnail

Zithers and grasshoppers may seem like an unlikely combination but they  are the theme of an old Chinese charm. The zithers in this case refer to the ancient Chinese musical instruments of the qin (琴) and the se (瑟). The qin or guqin (古琴) is a seven-stringed zither which was the instrument played by the [...]

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Chinese Buddhist Charm with Sanskrit Characters

Chinese Buddhist Charm with Sanskrit Characters thumbnail

A Chinese charm displaying non-Chinese characters was recently featured on the website of the Beijing Hanhai Auction Company (北京翰海拍卖有限公司). The only information provided, besides its size and weight, is that the charm “has writing from one of the ethnic minority groups of China”.  No translation is offered nor is there any hint as to the [...]

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