Jiangsu Round Sycee

Stephen Tai
29 April, 2000
Jiangsu Round (Early Type - No rising edge)
The 3rd Month, the 1st Year (Top)
Jin Tan Prefecture (Right)
Chien Tien Feng (Name of Silversmith) (Left)

Weight: 190 g (5 taels)
Jiangsu Round (Later Type - Rising edge)
Jiang Ning (Previous name of Nanking or Nanjing, 3 identical chops)

Weight: 190 g (5 taels)
Chekiang Round
Jing County (Top)
The 28th Year (Low Right)
Hsu Chang (Name of Silversmith) (Low Left)

Weight: 185 g (5 taels)

  • Jiangsu and Chekiang are 2 neighboring provinces situated in the south-east coast of China, having been one of the prosperous regions since centuries ago. A regional sycee pattern named Yuan Ding (Round Sycee) in 5 taels was reported in the early Chien Lung Period (1736-1795) commonly circulated in these 2 provinces.
  • In search of these Round Sycee for decades, many researchers and collectors have found quite many specimens cast in Chekiang (No.3), but only respectively few as of Jiangsu (No.1, 2., and also, XVIII.A.597, 603,604, XVIII.B.609, A Catalogue of Sycee in the British Museum by Joe Cribb).
  • Due to Ning-Po and Wen-Chou Port in Chekiang Province were long opened for international trades, especially with Japanese merchants, since early Ching Dynasty, Chekiang Round Sycee seems also used as a kind of trade silver. Kato in his renown work Illustrating History of Chinese Gold and Silver Money illustrated two Chinese sycee brought back to Japan by their merchants in the 7th year of Tien-Mei (1789, the 54th year of Chien Lung), both of them were Chekiang Round. As for Jiangsu Round, nearly no report on its being used in international trade or other occasions in the meantime. It must be owing to Shanghai - the major port of Jiangsu, was not opened until after the Opium War (1842-), Round Silver in the province had been circulated domestically.
  • Jiangsu Round Sycee can be differentiated in the Early type and the Later Type; both of them are scarce. All ChekiangJiangsu Round Sycee were sharing the similar hemisphere silver base, and all of them have a nipple uprising at about the center of the surface; despite all that, Jiangsuís Early Type were still having 2 significant distinctions - (1) No rising edge; (2) 3 chops lining like the shape of a reverse "U". It is to say that, initially Jiangsu and Chekiang had different ideas and interpretation about their own Round Sycee.
  • The Jiangsuís Later Type, as No.2 demonstrated, had been adopting the same shape of Chekiangís, as No.3 exemplified - with rising edge; and using the same way of stamping - 3 chops lining like a triangle. Seemingly, The Jiangsu Later Type became unified by Chekiang counterparts. Most likely, it is an indication that the Chekiang Round Sycee had already been a dominant sycee currency in Jiangsu, rarely there had its local Round Sycee been cast, particularly the Early Type.

A Silver Sycee Review