Song Yuan cash of Emperor Tai Zu (960-976 AD), Northern Song dyn., China H#16.1

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Four Chinese characters (Li script, large characters) Song Yuan Tong Bao ("Inauguration of Song universal currency") / Blank. 25mm, 3.60 grams. Issued in 960-976 AD. Schjöth #451; Hartill 16.1. SKU Q50-49504

Tai Zhu was the founder of the Song dynasty. This issue was meant to commemoration the establishment of the Song dynasty. The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a permanent standing navy. This dynasty also saw the first known use of gunpowder, as well as first discernment of true north using a compass. The Jurchen, a subject tribe within the Liao empire, invaded the Song territory in 1125 and another in 1127; in this latter invasion, the Jurchens captured not only the Song capital at Kaifeng, but the retired emperor Huizong, his successor Qinzong, and most of the Imperial court. The remaining Song forces regrouped under the self-proclaimed Emperor Gaozong (1127-1162), and withdrew south of the Yangtze River to establish the new capital at Linan (in modern Hangzhou). The Jurchen conquest of northern China and shift of capitals from Kaifeng to Linan was the dividing line between the Northern Song Dynasty and Southern Song Dynasty.

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