INDONESIA, JAVA, bronze keloh ring


INDONESIA, JAVA, keloh ring, no date (13-15th c.), oval open ring with flattened bulbous ends, bronze, 29mm, 11.82g, was bent at the thinnest part

1 in stock


Rings of various sizes were used as convenient value items that traded by weight throughout southern Southeast Asia and Indonesia.

Coinage came relatively late to the islands of Indonesia, People from India and Southeast Asia would go there for forest products, eventually establishing colonies, which might become kingdoms. Coinage style was generally Indian, using struck coins in gold, silver, or copper, until the Chinese period of exploration of the 15-16th centuries. Chinese traders brought their money habits with them. Copper coins are friendly to the street market, the idea caught on. By the 17th century local kings were making holed, cast coins for their people. Copper being scarcer, most of the copper cash were imported from China. Local coins tended to be made of tin. These things are inadequately researched. My main reference is the book: Oriental Coins and their Values, Vol. 3 – Non-Islamic & Colonial Series.

China calls itself “Central Country.” That is in reference to the vast Asian hinterland that is not China, and to the island peoples out in the Pacific Ocean. Because China tended to do organizational things earliest in that part of the world, the outsiders would notice and adopt useful practices that they observed. Among those borrowed cultural practices was the adoption of the money economy to replace direct barter, or to replace less convenient shapes of metal, rings and tools and jewelry bits. The Chinese style of market money being square holed cast bronze coins, that became the form of the coins made in Korea, Japan, Vietnam, the islands out to Java, into Siberia and as far west as Kazakhstan.