April 7, 2006:

[achtung! kunst] *archaeology* : Ancient coins offer clue to riverside ritual 1,300 years ago

X-post from Tim 't Hart's EastAsianArch list.
With kind permission.


Ancient coins offer clue to riverside ritual 1,300 years ago

The Asahi Shimbun

YAO, Osaka Prefecture--Everybody at some time has tossed a coin into a
fountain, or elsewhere, for good luck. It turns out the practice has
been around for well over 1,000 years, probably longer.

That, archaeologists say, may explain the recent discovery of rare
copper coins from the Nara (710-784) and early Heian (794-1185) periods
at a dried-up riverbed here.

The coins are special because they are what are known as Kocho-Junisen,
a term used for 12 types of copper coins minted in Japan by the imperial
court of the time.

These included so-called Kangen-Taiho coins that were minted in 958 and
were the last "made in Japan" coinage before the imperial court switched
to relying on imports from China.

Archaeologists said seven types of coins were discovered, along with
fragments of earthenware jars that suggest they were tossed into a
tributary of the Yamatogawa river in a ritual to bring salvation and
ward off illness. Distinctive faces were painted in black ink on the
small containers.

Rest at:



with kind regards,

Matthias Arnold (Art-Eastasia list)



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