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Chinese Literature
Qian bencao 錢本草 "The Cash Pharmacopoeia"


The Qian bencao 錢本草 "The Cash Pharmacopoeia" is an ancient text on money written in the style of a pharmaceutical analysis. The author, Zhang Yue 張說 from the Tang period 唐 (618-907), describes money as a "sweet" medicine, causing "great heat", and poisonous. The text says that "it can preserve a youthful appearance, with a lot of color and moisture in the face. It is good in healing sufferings from hunger, cold, distress and poverty. It is immediately efficacious. It is able to benefit country and state, but corrupts [even] eminent persons, and causes fear [even] to the upright and the honest." (transl. Shan and Vogel)
Zhang Yue 張說 (667-730), courtesy name Zhang Yuezhi 張說之, style Daoji 道濟, was from Luoyang (modern Luoyang, Henan). He was a high official in the imperial household and was famous for his style of writing. His collected writings Zhang Yangong ji 張燕公集 are included in the imperial collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書.
A full translation of the short text can be found on the page of the project Monies, Markets and Finance in China and East Asia, 1600-1900.


Source: Wang Yi 王益, Bai Qinxian 白欽先 (ed. 2000). Dangdai jiinrong cidian 當代金融辭典, Beijing: Zhongguo jingji chubanshe, p. 808.
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December 5, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail