Wheat Season of the Southern Areas to the Yangtze River


Weight: 450 grams/12.5 taels 


Date: N/A


Inscriptions by Stamping:


  霸北街西/重拾 貳兩半/霸北街西    


    West of Ba Bei Street (Address of the silver shop where was in the capital Ling An (Now, Hangzhou)) 

    Weighed Twelve and a Half Taels    


Additional Inscriptions by Stamping:


  鎮江劉鋪( Zhenjiang, Liu Firm)



Additional Inscriptions by Engraving:




   Cast in the Capital City in the Wheat Season

   Assayed by Hsieh Der Ming



In the regions between Yangtze River and Huai River, "Wheat Season" means the 5th month in the celestial calendar. But, why "Wheat" Season?

An old Chinese saying "北人食麥.南人食米"(Northerners eat wheat; Southerners eat rice) articulates vividly the different customs, major agricultural products and tastes of  foods between the Chinese people living north and south of the Yangtze River. The  Southern Sung silver shown, according to its inscriptions, was cast and circulated in Hangzhou and Zhenjiang, which were both south of the Yangtze River. It is intriguing that the additional inscriptions  麥季京銷 (Cast in the Capital City in the Wheat Season) seem to imply wheat was commonly grown in the south. It would contradict the old proverb, as well as most people's belief.   

We were not able to solve this apparent contradition until we found an article  "江南地区的粮食亩产及其估算方法辨析"(A Discussion on the Per Mu Grain Yield in the South of the Yangtze in the Song Dynasty and the Method of Its Estimation) authored by 葛金芳 Ge Jin-fang (湖北大学,人文学院,湖北,武汉; School of Humanities, Hubei University, Wuhan, Hubei 430062, China)

In that article, there are a few paragraphs which can offer a solution.

During the turn of the Northern and Southern Sung Dynasties, many Chinese living in the north who were used to food made of wheat were forced to immigrate to the south, as a result, the demand for wheat sharply increased and the price rose in the southern areas. Farmers were encouraged to grow wheat by the potential to reap tremendous profits.      

In the Southern Sung, Zhuang Ji Yu mentioned  in his work 《鸡肋编》:After the reign of Jien Yen (1127-1130), Jiangsu, Chekiang, Hunan, Hubei, Fujien, Kuangtung were all crowded with immigrants from the north and west. During the rise of Hsao Xing (1131-1162), 10 Chinese catties of wheat was sold for 12,000 cash, and the profit generated was double that from growing rice. During spring time, the scenery was just like in the north, since wheat was growing everywhere.

In addition to the profit protential,  the fact that farmers did not need to submit wheat to landlords could be a more important incentive for tenants in the south, since they were only required to submit rice as rent.     (Original Chinese texts in below)     

Therefore, since wheat became a revolutionary agricultural product to the Chinese during the Southern Sung Dynasty, it is no wonder that people would name this specific time of year as "Wheat Season", instead of "Rice Season". 





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