Hartill 21.59 Southern Ming Yong Li Tong Bao, Chi (Order) Imperial Message Coins

Hartill 21.59 Southern Ming Yong Li Tong Bao, Chi (Order) Imperial Message Coins


The Imperial Message Coins
Yong Li Tong Bao

Reverse: Chi, which means: Imperial Order

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Reference: Hartill 21.59

Weight: 3.8 grams; Size: 24 mm; Brass

Yong Li Tong Bao

Obverse: "YUNG-LI T'UNG PAO".

Reverse: Chi, which means Imperial Order.


The Imperial Message Coins

The characters on the reverses of 21.58 to 21.72, known as the 敕语钱 Chi Hua qian (Imperial Message coins) can be arranged to form a message. The message is traditionally given as: 御敕督部道【府】留粵輔明定國 Yu chi du bu dao [fu] liu yue ming ding guo. Imperial Orders, the governor-generals, Daotais, [and the Prefects] are to guard Yue [Guangdong and Guangxi] and Assist Ming to Settle the State. The 府 fu is an invention; the coins does not exit outside books.

The differences in the writing of Yong and tong suggest that these coins were the product of more than one mint. In 1651, it is recorded that the casting of the Zunyi ming in Guizhou was changed from Xingchao coins to Yongli coins for Prince Yongming. Square head tong coins of the San Fan Rebellion can be ascribed to the Guizhou mint, and others to the Yunnan mint by virtue of the gui and yun characters on the reverse. Pre-sumably square head tong Imperial Message coins were also cast in Guizhou.

Other proposed readings of the "message" are even more forced, and it is very likely that in reality there is no hidden message in these characters, and that they were picked at random for use as privy marks.



AD 1646-1659

Reign title: Yung-Li, AD 1646-1459

Chu Yu-lang, Prince Yung Ming, was a grandson of Shen Tsung (the Ming Emperor Wan Li). In the 11th month of 1646 he was declared Emperor and set up his capital in Chao-ch'ing Fu in Kuangtung, and issued coins under the Reign title of Yung-li. In 1659 he was defeated by the Manchu (Ching Dynasty) army and when to Burma. Later he return of Yunnan province where he died in 1662. Both he and his mother became Christians.




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Hartill 21.59 Southern Ming Yong Li Tong Bao, Chi (Order) Imperial Message Coins