Gao Chang kingdom Ji Li cash

Vladimir Belyaev
June 24, 2000
Obverse: Gao Chang Ji Li (top right bottom left)

Reverse: plain

Metal: AE
Size: diameter 26.2 mm, thickness 3 mm
Weight: 10.74 g

Xinjiang Numismatics, Hong Kong, 1997:

         Gaochang, an ancient state of the Western Region, is known in the history as the Frontal Cheshi Tribe. The territory of the ancient state covered what is now Turpan County in Xinjiang...
         Gaochang jili cash was coined in the reigns of the kings of the Qu's lineage (499-640). Made in excellent workmanship, jili cash were inscribed with Han characters in the official script style of the Han dynasty. The cash was circular, with a square hole in the middle, thick and weighty ...

Message from Gilbert Tan (24-Jun-00):
          The Gao Chang coin is written in a special squarish script that is copied from standard Chinese orthodox script. Too many forgeries today! Almost all in America and Japan are forgeries which still cost many hundred dollars!
         The shown coin is genuine.

Message from Francois Thierry (30-Jun-00):
          Your Gaochang jili coin is very close to the similar coin in the Cabinet des Medailles collection: 26 mm in diameter and 9.32 gr; but our coin is not in so good condition that yours ... I think the script is a square lishu with some bafen elements, not used on Han coins but only later. The location of findings of these coins is the Turfan region (only one coin was discovered in the Prince of Bin coin collection at Hejiacun in Shaanxi Province: see Shaanxi Museum, Xian nanjiao Hejiacun faxian Tang dai jiaocang wenwu, in Wenwu 1972-I, pp. 30-36). One coin was discovered in Astana1 necropole in the tomb N519 dated 642; this discovery gives us the proof that the Gaochang jili coins were cast before 642.
          In 640, the Tang dynasty taked Gaochang that was actually ally of the Turks against Chinese Empire, it is clear that the Tang do not cast coins with the name of their former enemy, the kingdom of Gaochang between 640 and 642. The owner of the tomb was Qu Wenzi, the wife of Zhang Longye. Qu Wenzi was a member of the Qu familly, the ruling family of Gaochang kingdom. In this tomb Chinese archaeologists have found many official documents of the time of King Qu Wentai (620-640): see Zhou Kunning, "Zailun Gaochang guo de Gaochang jili qian", in Qianbi shijie VII-1991, 18-25, and Tulufan chutu wenshu" edited by Xinjiang Museum, Wuhan University and Cultural Relics National Board, Peking 1981-1991, vol. IV p. 123. The typology of the coin (smaller hole than all wuzhu coins or Northern Zhou coins, rims biger than the wuzhu, the four characters...) is close to kaiyuan tongbao coins: for this reason I think that this coin should be attributed to King Qu Wentai (620-640) who issued this coins as an imitation of the Tang dynasty cash coin kaiyuan.

          1 The Astana necropole is very close to the ruins of Qojo-Gaochang in the Turfan oasis (now Tulufan, Xinjiang Province). This necropole was the cimetery of the former Qojo city; many sasanian silver coins were found in this necropole and a very rich archaeological material was excavated (official and economic documents, clothes, coins, clay objects, etc).

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