Monday, May 28, 2012

Depicting Cash

Today I had a good look at my money. Not my bank balance, but what's printed on Chinese bank notes. Mao's on the front of each one (he wasn't always; it used to be various leaders & workers), and on the backs are different, rather beautiful landscapes: the People's Congress Hall in Beijing (100RMB), the Potala Palace in Lhasa (50), the Li River in Guilin (20), the Qutang Gorge on the Yangtze River (10), Mt Tai in Shandong province (5) and West Lake in Hangzhou (1). You can go on a tour of them all - see here
Also on the back, top right, are the words Zhongguo Renmin Yinhang (People's Bank of China), written in Mandarin pinyin, Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur and Zhuang.
I just checked to see what's on the back of British notes - honestly, I didn't know! So let's hear it for Matthew Boulton & James Watt with their steam engine (£50), Adam Smith with an illustration of The division of labour in pin manufacturing (!?) (£20), Charles Darwin with a hummingbird & The Beagle (£10), and Elizabeth Fry reading to prisoners in Newgate Prison (£5). Am I alone in thinking this a fairly odd selection?

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