Kai Yuan Tong Bao in Seal Script
Emperor Li Yu (961-978) 李煜
Kai Yuan tong bao (Chinese: 開元通寶; pinyin: kāiyuán tōng bǎo) are written in li script and date from 961.
Distinguished from Tang period Kai Yuan by the broader rims, and the characters being in less deep relief. In the second year of Qiande (961), Li Yu ascended the throne, and the resources of the country being exhausted, his minister Han Xizai obtained permission to cast coins. These were on the Kai Yuan model, but in seal writing devised by the scholar Xu Xuan. This coin was slightly larger than the old Kai Yuans, and had broader rims, and was found convenient by both the government and the people.
The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms
After the collapse of the Tang in 907, another period of disunity ensued known as the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. Five officially recognised dynasties ruled consecutively in the north (with capitals at Kaifeng or Luoyang in Henan), while ten different kingdoms held sway at different times in the south. A shortage of copper made it difficult to produce an adequate supply of coins. In 955, an Edict banned the holding of bronze utensils:
"From now on, except for court objects, weapons, official objects and mirrors, and cymbals, bells and chimes in temples and monasteries, all other bronze utensils are banned... Those who hoard more than 5 jin, no matter how much the amount, will be executed. Those who abetted them will be exiled for two years, followed by labour service for one year. Those around them will suffer 100 strokes of the cane. Informers will be rewarded with 30 strings of cash."
The south enjoyed somewhat better political and economic conditions, and saw an advance in trade. A great variety of coinage, including large and base metal coins, was issued in this area.
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