Description:The Song Dynasty was largely a time of prosperity in China as its population doubled during the 10th - 11th century. Social life during the Song was vibrant as citizens gathered in the cities lively entertainment quarters. Science, philosophy, mathematics, engineering and other intellectual pursuits flourished during this time. The Song government was the first in world history to issue paper money and it also established the first Chinese navy. This dynasty also saw the first known use of gunpowder, as well as the first discernment of true north using a compass.
Chinese cash coins were minted for more than two thousand years by many of the rulers who have shaped the history of one of the world’s great civilizations. The legends on each coin are easily identifiable and from the mint names, first used regularly by the Tang emperors, we can trace the expansion of China. The size changes of the coins mark the periods when inflation affected the country.
Each of these Chinese cash coins was laboriously hand made by castings in a form that resembles a flattened tree and molten bronze. After cooling, the molds were opened and the coins were cut off of their sprues and then were filed smooth to erase the cut area. The circular shape of the coin represented heaven, while the square hole in the center represented the Earth. Cash coins were considered a great symbol of wealth and were also worn as amulets against disease, evil or negative energy directed at the wearer.