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Sui & T'ang
AD 581 to 907

Medieval Coins from the Sui and T'ang Dynasties, including the T'ang Rebels.

*Click on images to see larger images and full attribution.*

References : S - Schjoth (Chinese Currency), FD - Fisher's Ding, COOLE - assorted volumes

sui dynasty s-253
Image of type only

Sui Dynasty, AD 581 to 618

Emperor WEN, AD 518 to 604
Bronze "WU SHU"

Order # chsui01a   VF   $5.00
Order # chsui01b   gF   $3.75
Order # chsui01c   F but crusty    $3.00

References : S - Schjoth (Chinese Currency), FD - Fisher's Ding, COOLE - assorted volumes



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ancient moneyerCalgary Coin

SUI DYNASTY, AD 581 to 618

Many references list the first year of Sui as AD 589, but that is the date Sui unified China. Yang Chien, adopting the name Wen, established Sui in AD 581. As an official of Northern Zhou he had married the last emperor's daughter to become uncle to the heir, whom he forced to abdicate in his favor. In only nine years he expanded his territory until China was once again unified in AD 589.


Wen Ti, AD 581 to 605
also known as Yang Chien

Yang Ti, AD 604 to 617

Kong Ti You, AD 618

Kong Ti T'ang, AD 618

Emperor Wen died in AD 604 with the traditional areas of China unified. His son, Yang Ti, continued the expansion with campaigns in both Vietnam and Korea but was killed in AD 617. The house of Chien had lost control of their empire, and a number of rebels vied for power, with Li Yuan and his son Li Shih-min (future Emperors of T'ang) gaining the upper hand.

Our list of Sui emperors is derived from Mitchiner (Oriental Coins and Their Values, Volume 1, page 699) but there is some confusion over the identity of Kong Ti You and Kong Ti T'ang. We assume these are Li Yuan and Li Shih-min, first emperors of T'ang, but are unclear as to why Mitchiner lists them as Emperors of Sui, as they appear to have established the T'ang Dynasty as soon as they were in control.

For more information on the coinage of the Sui Dynasty, please check our Reference Guide.

T'ANG DYNASTY, AD 618 to 907

The death of Yang Ti of Sui resulted in a civil war from which Li Yuan (of Western Wei) and his son Li Shih-min arose victorious, establishing the T'ang dynasty and extending the unification of China for another 300 years. Li Yuan, adopting the title T'ang Kao Tsu, ruled from AD 618 to 626 then abdicated in favor of his son Li Shih-min who adopted the title T'ai Tsung and ruled from AD 627 to 649. Both were able rules under whom T'ang began its rise to greatness. The next 300 years was a time of relative calm, prosperity and enlightenment with the cultural arts dominating over the military arts.


Kao Tsu, AD 618 to 626
also known as Li Yuan

T'ai Tsung, AD 627 to 649
also known as Li Shih-min

Kao Tsung, AD 649 to 683

Chung Tsung, AD 684 to 690

Wu Tsu-t'ien, AD 690 to 705

Chung Tsung, AD 705 to 710
2nd reign

Juei Tsung, AD 710 to 712

Li Lung-Chi, AD 712 to 756
also known as Hsuan Tsung (Ming Hsuan)

?????, AD 756
son of Li Lung-chi

Su Tsung, AD 756 to 757
(full control)

Su Tsung, AD 758 to 761
(nominal control)

Shih Su-ming, AD 757 to 761

Tai Tsung, AD 762 to 779

Te Tsung, AD 780 to 805

Hien Tsung, AD 806 to 820

Mu Tsung, AD 821 to 824

?????, AD 824 to 827

Wen Tsung, AD 827 to 841

Wu Tsung, AD 841 to 846

Siuan Tsung, AD 847 to 855

?????, AD 856 to 859

Yi Tsung, AD 860 to 873

Hi Tsung, AD 874 to 888

Chao Tsung, AD 889 to 904

Chou We, AD 905 to 907
through puppet emperor Ngai Tsung

Considering the almost 300 years and over 20 emperors of the T'ang Dynasty, the coinage is fairly conservative with only a few distinctive issues. For the most part, the standard K'ai-yuan type was all that circulated.

For more information on the coinage of the T'ang Dynasty, please check our Reference Guide.

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