Annual Salt Distribution Quota (ASDQ) in Szechuan, and a Salt Capital Piece Relating to ASDQ Cast by its Officials
Weight: 398 grams/11- taels
Date: 1906 A.D.
Bin Wu (The celestial year Bin Wu, i.e., 1906)
A reform of salt affairs in Szechuan took place in the 3rd year of Kuang Hsu. Accordingly, an annual salt distribution quota was set for each production area and market ("ASDQ"). ASDQ was reviewed and revised annually, and was renamed with the name of then current celestial year. This piece having the inscription of "丙午"(Bin Wu) was actually a name of ASDQ dating to that year, i.e., the 32nd year of Kuang Hsu or 1906 A.D., for the time being, it is the only surviving piece found relating to ASDQ.
Also, according to that reform, the Szechuan officials undertook to pay the price of salt to manufacturers and transport it to merchants in each market. From the salt merchants, the officials were repaid for the costs and expenses of their entire service. This piece is also the only specimen of salt capital found cast by the officials as reimbursement to salt manufacturers. We learn from other salt capital pieces which were all cast by salt merchants that, in most cases, the officials were just by-passing them from the salt merchants to the salt manufacturers.
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