By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA May 09: A total of 5,500 Ancient Tibetan Tangka (Coins) which are believed to be at least 200 years old were discovered from a monastery at the base of Mount Everest in Tibet, reported the official Xinhua news agency May 06.
The round coins with floral patterns weighing 26.6kg was accidently discovered by the workers when they dug a hole at Rongpo Monastery at Dingri County on April 27 while renovating the monastery.
The head of the Dingri County, Wang Kun upon reading the inscriptions on the coins identified them to be at least 200 years old, dating back to the 18th century Gaden Phodrang (Tibetan Government) period in Tibet, reported China Daily on its website.
China credited the coin discovery to the Chinese central government’s minister to Tibet who oversaw the creation of the first batch of standard coins in 1792, an expert on coin studies with the People’s Bank of China has reportedly told Xinhua.
The claim seems to have been a misinterpreted fact because in 1792 the first mass-produced silver coins were created jointly by Tibetan and Chinese authority and the coins bore both Tibetan and Chinese inscriptions. These coins were later replaced by the coins bearing only Tibetan inscriptions.
Even before that, silver coins supplied by Nepal were being extensively used in the 17th century. In 1763/64 and 1785 the first silver coins were struck in Tibet. In 1840 Tibetan coins were issued under Tibetan authority, and those coins continued to be made until 1954, with only two short interruptions when Sino-Tibetan coins were issued.
From 1955 to 1959 no more Tibetan coins were created although banknotes were still being printed and by 1959 after the Chinese invasion, all of the money was gradually replaced with Chinese Yuan.