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Image received from Craig Greenbaum
Diameter 44 mm, weight ~37 g
Hong Duc Thong Bao - coin of the Hong Duc period (1470-1497 AD)
Reverse: Thien-ha thai binh in the seal (zhuan) style of inscription (top - bottom - right - left)
Message from Craig Greenbaum (21-Nov-02):
The front has a border (or fret) which is known as the Greek T pattern. This pattern has been in use in China on porcelain, rugs and amulets since ancient time. The face reads Hong Duc Thong Bao which was the second reign title (after Quang Thuan) used by Le Thanh Tong.
The reverse has an elaborate seal script with the vietnamese phrase Thien-ha thai binh which Desire Lacroix translated as "l'empire est en paix" or the empire is at peace. I translate Thien-ha differently, since Thien means heaven and ha means under or rule. Thus Thien-ha as a compound word should mean "Under Heaven" or "the world". If I am correct then the phrase is more like "the world is at peace".
Is it rare? I have never seen one before and it is listed only in Desire Lacroix's Numismatique Annamite, 1900 (coin #369).
Vladimir Belyaev (23-Nov-02):
I'm not sure that this charm was casted during Hong Duc period. Style of characters hong and duc is very different from the style on the ordinar cash coins of this period. Also we can see that Greek T pattern first time appeares on the commemorative coins of the period Canh Hung (1740-1786), Emperor Hien Tong [3, #909]. Such pattern also can be found on the coins of Canh Thinh period (1793-1802), Emperor Quang Toan [3, #1108, 1116, 1118].
F.Thierry writes that "La frise du rebord est appelée "motif du tonnerre" dans la terminologie numismatique chinoise" [3, p.64] ("The edge pattern is called "reason for the thunder" in the Chinese numismatic terminology").
The tradition of large coins was introduced in Vietnam in 1709 when large coin 50.5 mm with the legend Vinh Thinh thong bao was issued. This coin commemorated the accession of the new lord Trinh, Trinh Cuong An Do Vuong (1709-1729) [3, #616]. This tradition also is connected with Chinese commemorative issues in 60th anniversary of Chinese Emperor Sheng Zong in 1713 AD (period Kang-xi), continued by Emperor Gao Zong in 1771 (period Qian-long) [3, p.59].
Hence we can suppose that shown here large coin Hong Duc thong bao was issued not earlier than second half of the XVIIIth Century.
François Thierry, (09-Dec-02):
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