February 11, 2007

Volume 1 ~ Fugo Senshi

Fugo Senshi
Northern Song Dynasty Cash Variety Guide, Volume 1
Translated into English, with parallel Chinese (Pinyin Romanisation), sequentially rearranged, and provided with a variety numbering system.
by Norman F. Gorny

This is both a primer on identifying the varieties as well as a catalog based on Fugo Senshi, an original classic Japanese work on "dui qian" or "matching cash" of this dynasty. Please read the intro page for an idea of scope and format, and take a look at the sample pages. The catalog is published in 8-1/2 x 11" format in a comb binding with card stock front and back covers, with 115 pages of rubbings and text.

Volume 1 Fugo Senshi is CURRENTLY Out-of-Print!
If interested in obtaining a copy,
please email me!
Volumes 2 through 7 Kosen Daizen are still AVAILABLE.
See pricing and shipping information under each volume.

Introduction to Volume 1

Collecting Northern Song dynasty cash by varieties is a very rewarding study in itself. There are two classic guides to this series:

FUGO SENSHI by Yamada Kosho (2 volumes, 1827-1829). This work classifies only value-1 "dui qian" (matching cash) of Northern Song. It is invaluable, however, because it offers the collector a place to begin learning how to distinguish the subtle differences in module and style that characterize this series.

KOSEN DAIZEN by Imai Teikichi (1888). Volume 3 of this monumental work classifies all Northern Song cash, building upon the foundations established by FUGO SENSHI.

I have divided my Northern Song Dynasty Cash Variety Guide into seven volumes.
Volume 1 is essentially a numeric classification of FUGO SENSHI with variety names transliterated into Chinese with approximate English equivalents. I am not a speaker or translator of Chinese, but I have studied the coins themselves with reference to the variety names and developed what I hope is a workable terminology.

This volume is laid out with full size rubbings and in a spacious format, as it is expected to be used as a work book to be written in. The varieties have check boxes, so that the collector or student can log examples as they are acquired.

Volumes 2 through 7 of this series treats the relevant material in KOSEN DAIZEN in generally the same way, but due to the much greater scope, it is presented more compactly. It is expected that the collector will have become familiar with the series and its requirements from studying this first volume, and so the material is not formatted as a work book.

Volume 1 was originally issued as a paste-up of FUGO SENSHI in a back-to-front format related to the original Japanese publication. The present edition has been rearranged and the rubbings cleaned up and sequenced front-to-back for western users. I hope that this work will succeed in its purpose — to make variety collecting of Northern Song cash accessible to everyone, not only to readers of oriental languages.

VARIETY names are descriptions of characteristics of the coin.
When the variety name includes one of the characters on the coin, that character is in upper case. For example, Chang TONG, "elongated TONG." Sometimes a description takes a character apart and defines a part of it, for example, Mu SONG, "SONG written like MU." When that happens, the character part is in upper case only in the English translation. This rule is followed throughout.

Understand that the descriptive terms are not to be taken as absolutes, but relatives.

For example, when a coin is described as having a "high BAO," the character BAO may not look very high, but compared to the same character in the preceding coin, it can be seen to be slightly higher.

The differences in position, in weight of writing, in rim width, and so on, are VERY subtle. Often, it is possible to see the progression of the design through gradual change and/or antithesis.

For example, two varieties will be listed with opposite characteristics. By studying them together, especially with the coins in hand, one can learn EXACTLY what the variety names are getting at.

In this guide, I have made no attempt to distinguish, for example, several Chinese terms translated as "tilted." It is by studying the rubbings or the coins themselves that you will acquire a sense of what the variety names mean. Put simply, the terms are very often untranslatable because they are so symbolic. You may prefer to translate some of the terms differently and write them in your copy.

After using this guide, you may find, as I have, that once you know what is meant by the Chinese name, you prefer thinking of the variety by that name instead of the English "sub-title."
I recommend getting a pronunciation guide from the public library or download one from the internet. Pinyin romanization is used exclusively in this volume. It is phonetic and easy to pronounce.

As FUGO SENSHI is actually a Japanese work, the Chinese names are sometimes accompanied by Japanese katakana to assist the Japanese reader to whom some of the kanji might be obscure.

The rarity numbers are arranged to the upper right of each rubbing in Chinese, and at each variety description. Rarity 1 is extremely rare (RRR), rarity 10, expressed as RX, is very common.

Keep in mind that the rarity guide provided by FUGO SENSHI is that of Japan in the 1820’s. It is important to remember that one collector sometimes has several examples of a variety which to another has remained unobtainable.

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