Dated Song Dynasty, Circa 1020-1070 AD
Length: 9.25 inches Width: 5.25 inches
The Minister of Foreign Affairs was the military establishment of the Song Dynasty, and the military system of the Song Dynasty was established in the early years of the Northern Song Dynasty. The armed forces of the Song Dynasty were subordinate to the Central Army, and the transfer of the armed forces throughout the country was the responsibility of the Privy Council. The command of the armed forces was in the Sanya, forming a system of diplomatic departments. This was a special period of history in which civil officials were in charge of the government and military officials. The shortage of funds for the army caused the division to manage the allocation of funds for the army. At that time, the weak state power in the Northern Song Dynasty encouraged the army to generate income.
During the Song Dynasty, the army was widely engaged in various activities of return. Most of this, with the exception of a small portion, was used to subsidize military spending. Although the imperial edict banned this activity during the Song Dynasty, its width and length were larger, which made it easy for the army to flourish until the Song Dynasty ended. This is the result of the influence of the social environment, the leniency of the ruler, the shortage of the military expenditure, and the drive of personal greed, etc. The military activity was widespread, with various projects and various means, large-scale and profitable, and had an important impact on the military, financial and commodity economy of the time. (Note: This continues to the present day in the People’s Republic of China, despite efforts by the Communist Party to curtail such activities. The PLA invests world wide in real estate, minerals and all manner of commercial activities which generate wealth for the military establishment.)
Ingots were used in the production of coinage and contained precious metals such as tin, lead and silver. The bronze must be derived in part by tin ingots in order to produce the currency of the time. Therefore, the production and transportation of such tin ingots such as this example were exclusively under the supervision of the army, which generated revenue for the armies funds and made it possible for the junior officers to receive payment. The excavation of such cultural relics which are now in the Changsha museum are considered Important Cultural Treasures. In our opinion, the subject matter, workmanship and condition suggest a Song period date for this unusual and rare object.
Reference number: 4142
Formerly in a Private Collection