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Ancient Chinese Invention – Paper Money

In an earlier article, we discussed the ancient Chinese invention of paper.  Once there was paper, and printing, what’s the best way to make the most of those inventions?  What would make it more valuable?  Heck, make it MONEY!   Paper Money.  Here’s the history of the ancient Chinese invention of paper money.

A Fractured Fairy Tale

Before there were credit cards and checks, there had to be a medium that we could use to exchange for Chinese food.  Hence, for business to prosper they invented “Paper Money”.  Later would come the credit cards.   But, that’s a story for another article.  Back in the day, we used paper money to exchange goods and services.  Remember those days?  Ah, so quaint.  Paper money was something tangible.  The more you had the richer you felt… and the richer you were.  Chinese take-out restaurants were becoming so popular that before the invention of paper money, the going currency was gold or coins.  Of course as their coffers swelled, gold and coins became too heavy to tote around.  So, necessity being the mother of invention, paper money was created.

Or, perhaps that’s a Fractured Fairy tale of the genesis of Paper Money.

The Invention of Paper Money

Ancient Chinese Invention of Paper MoneyBut, paper money WAS invented in China.

The Chinese invented paper money in the 9th century AD. Its original name was ‘flying money’ because it was so light it could blow out of one’s hand. As exchange certificates used by merchants, paper money was quickly adopted by the government for forwarding tax payments. In 1024, the Song government took over the printing of paper money and used it as a medium of exchange backed by deposited “cash” (a Chinese term for metal coins).

An earlier reference to the invention of money goes all the way back to the Tang Dynasty in China in 740 AD. They made the paper money as an offshoot of the invention of block printing. Block printing is like stamping. Some people used the process for quilts, but the government made ready use of it in printing money. They made paper money because their devalued coins were becoming too heavy to carry.

The Chinese were very practical, and created many easier ways to carry things.  Including the take-out Chinese food box container.

Money Can’t Buy Me Love.  But, it can sure buy me a lot of Chinese food!

We’ve written a series of articles on ancient Chinese inventions.  What will they think of next??

Humbly submitted for your consumption,

Mee Magnum  (“Chop!  Chop!”)

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