Jan 10, 2010

Tin 'Hat' And Animal Money

This is one of the earliest currency books that published by Museum Negara on the development of tin currency in peninsular Malaya. It was written by William Shaw and Mohd Kassim Haji Ali and was published in 1970. You still can find this book at Museum Shop located at Museum Negara, Kuala Lumpur.

The cover of Tin 'Hat' And Animal Money

This book provides a very good information on the early development of tin currency in Peninsular Malaya. Started with the introduction of tin activities in Malay States, it explains the transformation of tin as a mining activity into the common acceptable currency in trading.

The authors believe that the tin currency was developed as early as A.D. 1413 whereby the Ma Huan, an interpreter with the naval expedition of Ming Admiral Cheng Ho, reported that the sole money of Malacca consisted of locally smelted tin cast into solid blocks. It was later transformed into pagodas and pyramids type which we commonly recognised them as Tampang.

Another interesting part of the book is the authors' explanation on the development of tin currency in the shape of animals or insects such as crocodiles, elephants, cocks, tortoises and grasshoppers. The authors believe that the intention of making this animal money was due to two possibilities. They could be made under the supervision of pawang or wizards and and were intended to have some talismanic significance for the use in magical ceremonies. Another possibility is that they might be used at one time as weights.

The tin currency that comes in pagodas and pyramids type. They also minted in animal shapes.

Tin currency that made in animal shapes.

For those who like to further understand or study the history and development of ancient money especially the tin currency, this is definitely a very interesting book that provides awesome information.

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