The British Museum's collections, £16.99
Width: 189.000 mm
Height: 90.000 mm
Chartered Institute of Bankers Collection
CM CIB 15656
Coins and Medals
Specimen 1000 sucres note
Ecuador, around AD 1944
A traditional design in a modern setting
The unusual image on this banknote reflects cross-cultural influences and the combination of modern developments with older traditions in note design.
During the nineteenth century, banknotes were often decorated with allegorical female figures. Based on classical goddesses and myths, they represented important themes in the creation of wealth, such as Agriculture, Commerce, Industry or Plenty. Although these figures were clearly in a European tradition, they were used on paper money in many non-European countries.
Allegorical figures still appeared on twentieth-century notes, often balanced by contemporary subjects. On this design, which was used in Ecuador from the 1940s to the 1960s, old and new have been dramatically brought together. In the centre of the note is a typical allegorical figure in flowing classical drapery, with traditional attributes of a globe and a scroll. However, she is a thoroughly modern woman, efficiently wielding a pen and a telephone, against a background of skyscrapers.
V.H. Hewitt, Beauty and the banknote: image (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)