China Qiang Long Emperor
Tibet Silver 1 Sho
Qian Long Bao Zang, Qianglong Treasure for Tibet
Year 59, 1794 AD
Size: 25.2 mm; weight: 3.7 grams; Material: Silver
Minted in the 59th year of Chien Lung reign (1794)
Obv: Qian Long Bao Zang - Chien Lung Treasure for Tibet, Year 59
Rev: Tibetan translation
In 1792 Qing government established a mint in Lhasa to issue silver coins for the local market until 1836. The first issue was closely modeled on the old Tibetan coins, the later one was introduced with Chinese inscription on one side [Ch'ien Lung Pao Tsang - 4 Chinese characters mean Ch'ien Lung Treasure for Tibet] and a Tibetan translation of it on the other. On the both sides of the coin were bearing an intended square hole in the middle. There were three denominations weighing 1.5, 1, and 0.5 mace. Similar Pao-Tsang coins were cast in the reigns of Chia Ch'ing, Tao Kuang and Huan Tung Emperors until the establishment of the Republic of China in 1911. All of these coins were known by the Western as Sino-Tibetan coinage.
A Chinese reference mentions about coins exquisitely minted in the first year of the K'ang Hsi reign (1661) were discovered for the first time and were not recorded in history. (page 37, A History of Chinese currency - 16th century BC - 20th century AD)
There are many varieties of these coins. I confess in verifying the dates on the coins, more the worse, I can't even verify the coins of the different 5 mints in Tibet.
As I know that there are 5 mints have issued coins in Tibet. They are Dode; Dodpal; Mekyl; Ser-Khang and Tapchi mints. Although there are no mintmarks on the coins, an experienced collector can point out the varieties of the mints easily by reading the legend. I hope I can verify my Tangka coin soon.
Tibetan Tangka Coins
Tibet is located on the Tibetan plateau of Central Asia. It is known as 'the Land of Snows' or 'the Rooftop of the World'. To the West, Tibet has represented a forbidden land of strangers and or an exotic region of mystery. I agree that Tibet is mysterious in a way few other places are.
Coins used in Tibet were imported from Nepal during the middle of sixteenth century. Many debased silver coins were struck in Nepal and sent to Tibet. Later, the minting of adulterated coins which had been the cause of the war between Tibet and Nepal in 1791. The Eighth Dalai Lama requested the Qing Government for military help, and Nepal troop (Gurkha) was defeated by the Qing army.
According to a Chinese reference '藏學研究論叢第六輯 - Zang Xue Yan Jiu Lun Cong', (page 87, ISBN7 223 00747 8/2. 46) the Qing Government had paid 10,520,000 taels in weight of silver for the Qing troop during the war. The amount of silver was equal to one quart of the total annual income of the Qing Government at that time.
After the war, the Qing Government promulgated the new regulations '欽定藏內善後章程二十九條 - The Authorized Regulations for the Better Governing of Tibet' in 1793. This new royal decree of 29 article was published in order to strengthen the Qing Government's control over Tibet.
It is believed that Tibet had begun its own coinage probably in about 1760s. The first coin was minted by the order of Regent of the Tibet government Dican Hutuktu. As I know that the first Tibetan coin bears only the motifs of Buddhisim to assert its local origins, there is no any inscriptions on the both sides of the coin.
Some Western scholars believed that the first Tibetan mint opened in 1791, but operations were suspended two years later. In 1792, Qing government established a second mint in Lhasa to issue silver coins for the local market until 1836. But I have collected some speciments of Tibetan Tangka which denoted minting in 1791. Might be the dies had already prepared in 1791, but they were used two years later. Really, I am confused with the dating of the early Tibetan Tangkas. This can only prove that there were at least two mints existed in Tibet during the 1790's. The Tibetan silver coins normally were known as Tangkas, they were minted in Tibet during the period of 1791 to 1946. They exhibit a wide array of varieties and yet the features of Tibetan tangkas remained nearly invariable for over a century.
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