The Chinese Economic Sphere
Round cast bronze coins were China’s staple currency for over 2000 years. The coins travelled widely during the medieval period as the result of trade. During the Mongol (or Yuan) and Ming periods, as paper money began to be used increasingly within China, large quantities of older, worn coins were deliberately exported. These coins came to be used as currency in many areas around the Indian Ocean and South China Seas, as well as further north in Japan, Korea and Mongolia. Local imitations were made when supplies of Chinese coins were short.
When some neighbouring countries such as Japan (in 683), Anam (or Vietnam, in 970), and Korea (in 996) began to issue their own official coinages, they adopted the Chinese system. While Chinese coins were only made from bronze, her neighbours also occasionally produced gold or silver coins and coins of different shapes, such as oval coins and types of ingots.
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