Top: Kuangtung Maritime Custom
Right: The 8th year of Kuang Hsu Reign (1882)
Left: The 11th month. Shen Zhen Hsiang (Name of
Weight: 385 g (10 taels)
Kuangtung Maritime Custom as the shown sycee depicted was established
at Macao in the 23rd year of Kang Hsi reign (1684).
According to the Maritime Custom Tax Ordinances of the time, foreign ships
were allowed to sail into Huang-Pu, a port nearby Canton, but they first had
to stop at Macao where is an offshore island to the Kuangtung inland to pay
the taxes and wait for guidance for the entry.
All ships were levied by the Custom for various taxes.
Ship Tax, depending on the sizes of the ships, the tax amounts would be
from 400 to 2,200 silver taels. For the ships merely unloading their cargoes
at Macao without further sailing into Port Huang-Pu, the applicable tax
rates would be half.
Each owner of the ships would be asked to pay Transaction Allowance
for allowing their cargoes to be traded in China at a flat rate of 2,520
silver taels for each ship despite the size of their ships or the value of
Goods Tax. An average rate at 16% would also be taxed on the imported
goods according to their values.
The tax system was so complicated, bureaucratic and effort consuming, it
was difficult for foreign merchants to understand or get through by
themselves. This gave rise to a new business for local Chinese dealers who
were familiar with the procedures and the tricks being representatives of
those foreign merchants or companies, it was called Tai-Pan.
Shown sycee in the shape of 10-tael Square Trough was one of the
historical custom tax silver collected by the Kuangtung Custom in Macao in