Four chinese characters (seal script) Yuan You Tong Bao / Blank. 25mm, 4.21 grams. Issued in 1086-1093 AD. Schjoth #566; Hartill 16.260.
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. Theremaining 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.