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There are even examples of Chinese paper money that retain the image of historical sites which no longer exist due to natural disasters, wars or acts of revolution and rebellion.Unfortunately, the vast majority of standard catalogs and reference books on Chinese paper money seem to ignore these vignettes.The Ningpo city wall, seen in the illustration, was made of granite and was more than 5 miles in circumference. The Pengshan Pagoda (彭山塔), built in 1522-1566 during the Ming Dynasty, was made of brick and extended high above the city.Thomas Allom traveled widely in many parts of the world and is famous for his illustrations of China. The vignette shows the city wall of the ancient city of Xian (西安) which is the capital of Shaanxi Province (陕西省).During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the textile industry flourished in Ningpo which is a port city in Zhejiang Province on the east coast of China.Ningpo is surrounded on three sides by mountains with a fertile plain in the middle which makes it ideal for growing cotton.In the past, there was a drawbridge to allow access to the city.The city wall of Xian is the most complete city wall still existing in China. The name "Yellow Crane" derives from an ancient legend that an immortal mounted a yellow crane at this site and then flew away. Long ago a man rode off on a yellow crane, all that remains here is Yellow Crane Tower.
The inspiration for China's paper money actually came from the "white deerskin" money (飞 钱) of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD).Paper money provides a canvas upon which images of ancient Chinese historical sites are displayed and preserved.Some vignettes show world-famous structures such as the Great Wall of China, the Summer Palace and the Confucian Temple at Qufu.Due to certain drawbacks associated with paper money, the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) relied on coins for a long time with the exception of a brief period (1651-1661) during the Shun Zhi reign of Emperor Shi Zu.However, the situation changed in 1853 during the Xian Feng reign of Emperor Wen Zong when large military expenditures were required to suppress the Taiping Rebellion. The Hu Bu Guan Piao ("Official Note of the Ministry of Interior and Finance" 户部官票) was issued in a denomination based on a tael of silver.