Korean art and archaeology, £9.99
Weight: 3.150 g
Room 68: Money
Haedong t'ongbo coin
Korea, AD 1097
One of Korea's first coins
The Haedong t'ongbo was one of the earliest coins issued in Korea. It was modelled on the design of contemporary Chinese coins of the Song dynasty in terms of its shape (round with a square hole in the centre), its inscription (with Chinese characters arranged around the hole) and in terminology (using the phrase tongbao).
The calligraphy on this coin is in seal script. The inscription reads 'Haedong t'ongbo', starting from the character at the top and reading clockwise around the square hole. Haedong literally means 'east of the sea' and refers to the kingdom of Koryo (Korea). T'ongbo means 'circulating treasure' or 'coin'.
E.J. Mandel, Cast coinage of Korea (Racine, Wisconsin, 1972)
J. Cribb, B. Cook and I. Carradice, The coin atlas (London and Sydney, Macdonald Illustrated, 1990)
J. Williams (ed.), Money: a history (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)