Tian Chao Wan Shun, in Khitan large script 10 Cash 907 AD Ki-tan Tartar Liao Dyn

Tian Chao Wan Shun, in Khitan large script 10 Cash 907 AD Ki-tan Tartar Liao Dynasty

Ki-tan Tartar Liao Dynasty

Tian Chao Wan Shun, in Khitan large script
10 Cash coin, ca. 907 AD

 

35 mm; 18 grams; Material: Bronze

Obv: Tian Chao Wan Shun 天朝万順 in Khitan large script

Top: au; Right: sin; Bottom: ming; Left: tum

Rev: Undeciphered Khitan small script

 

 

The Khitan large script was one of two Khitan writing systems used for the now-extinct Khitan language. It was used during the 10th-12th centuries by the Khitan people, who had created the Liao Empire in north-eastern China. In addition to the large script, the Khitans simultaneously also used a functionally independent writing system known as the Khitan small script. Both Khitan scripts continued to be in use to some extent by the Jurchens for several decades after the fall of the Liao Dynasty, until the Jurchens fully switched to a script of their own. Examples of the scripts appeared most often on epitaphsand monuments, although other fragments sometimes surface.

 

LIAO DYNASTY, AD 907-1125

The Liao were a Tartar Dynasty known as the Ch'i-tan or Ki-tan Tartars, first established by T'ai Tsu in AD 907 during the period of the 5 dynasties. The dynasty lasted for 218 years until AD 1125, ruling from their capital at Beijing. For most of their existence they existed along side the Northern Sung Dynasty, in what appears to be somewhat less than peaceful co-existance.

The first Emperor of Liao did not issue any coins. There were five Emperors between AD 907 and 1031 who issued coins, but only a handful of each type is known to exist and it is unlikely any genuine examples will come on the market. We have not listed them here as it is unlikely anyone viewing this site to identify a coin will have one, but you will find information on them on page 216 of David Hartill's book CAST CHINESE COINS. Schjoth (page 41) notes a record of the Liang Dynasty Emperor Mo, using the reign title Lung-te, issuing large numbers of coins during this period, which are likely what circulated in the Liao region for what little need the Liao people had of coins at that time.

The earliest readily available coins of Liao begin with the Emperor Hsing Tsung during his second reign title of Ch'ung Hsi after he established the first Liao central mint in Manchuria in AD 1053. The mint was not particularly skilled and most Liao coins are fairly crude, poor quality castings.

There are some differences in the dating of the Liao reign titles by Schjoth and Hartill, and we have chosen to use those given by Hartill as it is much more recent and almost certainly more reliable research.

 

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Tian Chao Wan Shun, in Khitan large script 10 Cash 907 AD Ki-tan Tartar Liao Dyn

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