Learning about Korean coin history via Korean pop music…

Nice post by Emily Pearce Seigerman, a museum specialist with the National Numismatic Collection.

She says best way to remember history of coinage in Korea is by linking it with their pop music:

The 2018 Winter Olympics are taking place in PyeongChang, South Korea. I cannot wait to watch the competitions and see some of the celebrations of Korean culture and history. The location of this year’s Olympics has given me more opportunity than usual to share one of my favorite things with my museum colleagues: K-pop (aka Korean pop music)! I, very proudly, have been introducing some of my favorite K-pop artists into the lives of my numismatic colleagues. One way I’ve done this is by forcing them to listen to the new Super Junior album Play on repeat in the vault where we conduct our daily work. Another way I have done this is by comparing some of my favorite bands with coins of Korea throughout history. Surprisingly, coins and K-pop are both dripping in personality—bold colors, and all kinds of pizazz—and, honestly, I’m shocked no one has done a comparison study until now! So, to give you a little snapshot of what it sounds like in the National Numismatic Collection (NNC) suite, here are some of my favorite Korean coins throughout history and the three K-pop bands that I identify with them!

Five men pose for a group portrait
The original five-member lineup of TVXQ, around 2008. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
A round coin with a square removed from the center and aged markings
Tong Guk T’ong Bo coin, Korea, 1097

TVXQ (also called DBSK) was one of the first boy bands to dominate the surging early 2000s K-pop market. While there were K-pop bands prior to TVXQ, the band debuted with a bang, making its first public appearance with recording artists BoA and Britney Spears. The band’s distinctive K-pop style led to multiple chart-topping singles and albums in South Korea, Japan, China, Thailand, and Malaysia. The Tong Guk T’ong Bo coin, like TVXQ, was one of the first distinctively Korean products. Prior to its production, the principal form of Korean exchange was bartering with rice and linen, though some coinage from China was present. The first minting of Korean coins did not begin until the 15th year of King Suk Jong’s reign (996). The new currency mimicked the cash coins of the T’ang Emperor Su Tsung of China, but it had the characters tong guk tong bo (dongkuktongbo) 東國通寶, which translates to “Eastern Country Currency.” While there are many variations for the Tong Guk T’ong Bo, their production set the standard format for Korean coins for over 600 years!

There are two more in the post…

Nice bit..

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