The British Museum
Dr Helen Wang is Curator of East Asian Money at the British Museum. Her publications cover a wide range of subjects, and include Money on the Silk Road: the evidence from Eastern Central Asia to c. AD800 (2004), Textiles as Money on the Silk Road (2013), Chairman Mao Badges: Symbols and Slogans of the Cultural Revolution (2008), Catalogue of the Japanese Coin Collection (pre-Meiji) at the British Museum (2010). She has also produced several publications focussing on Sir Aurel Stein (1862-1943) and his collections in the UK and Hungary. Website: Chinese Money Matters https://chinesemoneymatters.wordpress.com
「 Western Interest in Chinese Money – The Beginnings of East Asian Numismatics 」
There are about 900,000 coins, banknotes, tokens and other money-related objects in the British Museum collections. The British Museum was founded in 1753, and at first the coins were housed with manuscripts (coins were considered as metal manuscripts), until a separate Department of Coins and Medals was created in 1860. Reginald Stuart Poole (1832-1895), Head of the Department between 1870 and 1893, had a vision of creating a scholarly series of British Museum catalogues of coins. He started with the coins of Europe, especially the Greek and Roman series, but also had a very strong interest in Asia, and was keen to develop Asian numismatics. While he was Head of the Department, the Asian coin collections expanded by the thousands, including the East Asian collections of Hosea Ballou Morse, Christopher Thomas Gardner, and Kutsuki Masatsuna. Poole himself supervised the compilation and publication of 16 British Museum Catalogues of Oriental (i.e. Islamic), Indian and Chinese coins. In this presentation, I will look at the history of the Asian coin collections at the British Museum, some of the key people involved, and their motivations.