MONGOLIA bronze ingot no date (circa 1-200 AD)


MONGOLIA, ingot, no date (circa 1-200 AD), Obverse: two 28mm rings with 15mm holes connected by a row of 6 19mm rings with 3mm holes, the little ones decorated with incuse lines, Reverse: flat, bronze, 130mm long, 71.41g, Got this from a guy in Shanghai in the early 2000s. VF

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100 years ago there were no known Mongol coins before the conquest of China. In the last 20 years two series of things have been accepted by many people as Mongol money. The earlier series, BC perhaps, consists of bronze rings and rectangular plaques, which seem like they could have been used as money. The ancient series is various styles of rings and ingots. The later series, probably 11th century, is mostly iron coins similar to contemporary Chinese iron coins, with 4 as yet undeciphered non-Chinese characters. These things are inadequately researched. My main reference is the book: Oriental Coins and their Values, Vol. 3 – Non-Islamic and 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.