A Single Groove Silver Named "Public Matter"

Stephen Tai
Oct, 24, 1998
Inscription: - Gong Yong Ze Wu - Public Matter
Dimensions: 24(L) x 28(W) x 12(H)
Weight: 49 g (approx. 1 tael and 3 maces)
  • This is an Single-Stamp silver, one of the typical monetary silver circulated in Yunnan since Jia Qing period (1796-1820) until the end of Qing Dynasty.
  • Normally, inscriptions of Single-Stamp silver can be classified into 3 kinds, severally are (1) Year (2) Name of place (3) Name of silversmith or silver shop. But, this one is exceptional; it inscribed with (Public Matter).
  • What does Public Matter mean? What does this silver used for? We can not find this term from any historical records. However, there was a kind of allowance named (Gong Yong Qian, Public Money) paid to officials as part of their salaries by the governments since Song Dynasty, at that time such an allowance was paid by cash coins. Since ever, this allowance was also continuously paid by the regimes after Song; until Qing Dynasty, many local governments were still paying this to its officials. Therefore, we may reasonably believe that payment method of the allowance had already been changed from cash coins to silver in Qing Dynasty, and this silver was an allowance silver payable to an official in Yunnan local government.

Silver Sycee