Brass cash coin of the Taiping Rebellion

Qing dynasty, AD 1850s

A coin of the Heavenly Kingdom

The Taiping Rebellion (1850-64) was a serious attempt to oust the weakening Qing dynasty. The leader of the rebellion, Hong Xiuquan (1814-64), had dreamt that he was the second son of God, and the younger brother of Jesus Christ. In his mission to save China, Hong led his troops to the city of Nanjing and installed himself as the Heavenly King of a new Heavenly Kingdom and began to issue coins such as this one. Issuing these official coins was a way of legitimizing his rule.

The inscription on the front of this coin reads 'Tai ping Tian guo' ('Taiping Heavenly Kingdom'). The inscription on the back of the coin reads 'sheng bao' ('sacred treasure').

This Heavenly Kingdom on earth was to be short-lived. The Taiping rebels were defeated by combined Chinese and European forces in 1861.

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Diameter: 25.000 mm
Weight: 4.450 g

Museum number

CM Heath 2464



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