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Idea, implementation and design by
Andrey Tretyakov (aka inscriptor)

Andrei Tretyakov, inscriptor, creounity

and Creative Force
2009.

Shortcut of the Creounity Time Machine
(English version) is:
creounity.com/tmconv

Acknowledgements

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Creounity Time Machine:
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Patent protected
(click to show/hide details).

Chinese Empire (Qing Dynasty; machine-struck coinage: late XIX early XX centuries.)

QUICK SEARCH. Please enter the year you're looking for (valid between 1830 AD and 2069 AD): 

Click on the year-link to view the picture related to that year. Click on the dark background to hide the picture.

#2/#1
Earth. branches/Celest. stems
Metal
7
Metal
8
Water
9
Water
10
Wood
1
Wood
2
Fire
3
Fire
4
Earth
5
Earth
6
DogXI
47
1850
1910
1970
2030
  59
1862
1922
1982
2042
  11
1874
1934
1994
2054
  23
1886
1946
2006
2066
  35
1838
1898
1958
2018
 
PigXII
  48
1851
1911
1971
2031
  60
1863
1923
1983
2043
  12
1875
1935
1995
2055
  24
1887
1947
2007
2067
  36
1839
1899
1959
2019
RatI
37
1840
1900
1960
2020
  49
1852
1912
1972
2032
  1
1864
1924
1984
2044
  13
1876
1936
1996
2056
  25
1888
1948
2008
2068
 
OxII
  38
1841
1901
1961
2021
  50
1853
1913
1973
2033
  2
1865
1925
1985
2045
  14
1877
1937
1997
2057
  26
1889
1949
2009
2069
TigerIII
27
1830
1890
1950
2010
  39
1842
1902
1962
2022
  51
1854
1914
1974
2034
  3
1866
1926
1986
2046
  15
1878
1938
1998
2058
 
RabbitIV
  28
1831
1891
1951
2011
  40
1843
1903
1963
2023
  52
1855
1915
1975
2035
  4
1867
1927
1987
2047
  16
1879
1939
1999
2059
DragonV
17
1880
1940
2000
2060
  29
1832
1892
1952
2012
  41
1844
1904
1964
2024
  53
1856
1916
1976
2036
  5
1868
1928
1988
2048
 
SnakeVI
  18
1881
1941
2001
2061
  30
1833
1893
1953
2013
  42
1845
1905
1965
2025
  54
1857
1917
1977
2037
  6
1869
1929
1989
2049
HorseVII
7
1870
1930
1990
2050
  19
1882
1942
2002
2062
  31
1834
1894
1954
2014
  43
1846
1906
1966
2026
  55
1858
1918
1978
2038
 
Sheep (Goat)VIII
  8
1871
1931
1991
2051
  20
1883
1943
2003
2063
  32
1835
1895
1955
2015
  44
1847
1907
1967
2027
  56
1859
1919
1979
2039
MonkeyIX
57
1860
1920
1980
2040
  9
1872
1932
1992
2052
  21
1884
1944
2004
2064
  33
1836
1896
1956
2016
  45
1848
1908
1968
2028
 
RoosterX
  58
1861
1921
1981
2041
  10
1873
1933
1993
2053
  22
1885
1945
2005
2065
  34
1837
1897
1957
2017
  46
1849
1909
1969
2029

Dating Chinese coins. The Chinese calendar

The coins of the Chinese provinces didn't have a date as we understand it as a period of time elapsed since a moment defined as a time zero. Such a time zero usually refers to an important event in this or that religion, or to a revolution: Christianity the Nativity of Christ in AD 0, Islam Muhammad's departure from Mecca to Medina in AD 622, Buddhism the death of Buddha in 543 BC, etc. As far as the Chinese calendar is concerned, there is no time zero. It consists of cycles, each cycle lasting 60 years. This cycle is called the sexagenary cycle. The numeral 60 is noteworthy in the sense of the quantity of its divisors, they are as follows: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, 30 and 60. Thus it is very simple to subdivide such a cycle into minor ones. Is this the only reason for choosing 60 as a cycle's length? I think another reason is that 60 years is approximately the length of a human being's life; people have always been defining measurement units comparable to their own bodies' parameters (foot, yard etc.) or parameters of something related to their regular needs (kilogram, meter, pound etc.).

Another name for the sexagenary cycle is the stem-branch cycle, since that chronological system is based on 2 counting types: a cycle of 10 Heavenly, or Celestial, Stems and a cycle of 12 Earthly Branches. Celestial Stems are represented by the 10 columns in the table, and the Earthly Branches are the 12 horizontal lines, or rows, of the table. Half of the combinations are not used, because they have different parity. Therefore, the cycle repeats every (10×12)/2 = 120 / 2 = 60 years. The 12 Earthly Branches are associated with the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac (Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig), and the Heavenly Stems pairwise are associated with the Five Elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water).

The year is specified by two Chinese characters in the Chinese calendar (see the table on the left), in the following order:

[Celestial Stem][Earthly Branch].

Keep in mind: at that time Chinese text was written and read from right to left. This rule is applicable to coins as well. The green numeral in the top of the cells indicates the ordinal number of this or that Gregorian year in a sexagenary cycle. When you place the mouse pointer over a cell with the necessary year of the Gregorian calendar, the appropriate top and left cells with Chinese characters are highlighted. The table covers the years from 1830 AD to 2069 AD that is 60×4, or 240 years. If you click on a year-link, you'll see how the date's characters are written on a real coin. A quick search feature is also available: start typing the Gregorian year you're searching for, and as soon as you've typed the last (4th) digit of the year, it instantly becomes highlighted soft-red in the table.

Please remember that the beginning of the year in the Chinese cyclical calendar does not coincide with one in the Gregorian calendar; neither does it depend on any of the dates of the Gregorian calendar. To be more precise, the beginning of the Chinese New Year depends on the arrival of the new moon.

Examples of finding dates on Chinese coins (dates refer to the Chinese cyclical calendar)

There are some typical places on the old coins of Chinese provinces where the two characters of the date are specified. Let's start with the place near the coin's edge, at the center:

As specified above, the characters on the coins are read from right to left (#1: , #2: ), and the date inscription can be interpreted as follows: 卯癸, this inscription corresponds to the year 1903 AD.

The next place for the characters of the date is: near the coin's edge, closer to the top:

The characters are: #1: , #2: , and the inscription 午丙 can be therefore interpreted as 1906 AD.

Another place for the date is: near the coin's edge, on top of the coin, in line with the Chinese characters of the Emperor's name:

The inscription at the top of the coin should also be read from right to left; it says: 未丁緒光, which means: Kwang Hsu, year 1907. Kwang Hsu (also spelled as Kuang-hsü or Guangxu) was the last but one emperor of the Qing Dynasty. Kwang Hsu (18711908) formal reign lasted from 1875 to 1908 AD. On the orders of the Empress Dowager Cixi, who was Kwang Hsu's stepmother, Kwang Hsu was succeeded on the Qing's throne by his 2-year-old nephew, Puyi. Later on, from 1932 to 1945 AD, Puyi became the leader of the puppet state Manchukuo (currently this is a territory of Manchuria, North China; it was occupied by the Japanese until the end of the World War II).

Not only in Chinese empire…

Some coins of the first decades of the Republic of China were also dated in accordance with the sexagenary cyclic calendar. On top of that, Singapore also has a few commemorative coins that use the sexagenary cycle, says gxseries. He explains that the main reason for this is as follows: Singapore is a country that has a lot of Chinese people that emigrated a long time ago, so it's a kind of tribute to the memory of Chinese traditions.

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