Tibetan skar

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Two and half skar copper coin, dated 15-48 (= AD 1914), obverse Tibetan 2 and half skar coin 15-48.jpg
Two and half skar copper coin, dated 15-48 (= AD 1914), obverse
Two and half skar copper coin, dated 15-48 ( + AD 1914), reverse Tibetan 2 and half skar coin 15-48.rev.jpg
Two and half skar copper coin, dated 15-48 ( + AD 1914), reverse

The Tibetan skar was a weight unit representing a 100th part of one srang or the 10th part of one sho (i.e. about 0.37 g). The term was also used to refer to monetary units in the first half of the 20th century when copper coins were issued by Tibet (now People's Republic of China) which had the denominations 1/2, 1, 2 and half, 5 and 7 and half skar. One unit is referred to as skar gang in Tibetan.


Mimangxogngü skar

5 mimangxogngu skar banknote issued in 1953. RMB2-5fen-B.gif
5 mimangxogngü skar banknote issued in 1953.

Since the 1950s, China has issued the homonymic mimangxogngü skar in Tibet, which is a synonym of renminbi fen. Since 1959, all traditional skar coins are substituted by Mimangxogngu skar.

Renminbi official currency of the Peoples Republic of China

The renminbi is the official currency of the People's Republic of China. The yuan is the basic unit of the renminbi, but is also used to refer to the Chinese currency generally, especially in international contexts where "Chinese yuan" is widely used to refer to the renminbi. The distinction between the terms renminbi and yuan is similar to that between sterling and pound, which respectively refer to the British currency and its primary unit. One yuan is subdivided into 10 jiao, and a jiao in turn is subdivided into 10 fen. The renminbi is issued by the People's Bank of China, the monetary authority of China.

Original meaning

Tibetan or Chinese scale (steelyard balance) for weighing silver, red coral or other precious substances such as musk or turquoises. The beam is made of hardwood, the weight and the pan from bronze (early 20th century). Tibetan scale with one pan.jpg
Tibetan or Chinese scale (steelyard balance) for weighing silver, red coral or other precious substances such as musk or turquoises. The beam is made of hardwood, the weight and the pan from bronze (early 20th century).

The original meaning of this term is "star" which referred to the small stars which were found as subdivisions on the horizontal bar of Tibetan and Chinese scales. The moving of the string with which the weight was suspended to the beam from one star to the next represented the weight of one skar. [1]

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  1. Beyer, Stephan: The Classical Tibetan Language. Sri Satguru Publications, New Delhi 1993, p. 228. See also Filchner, Wilhelm: Kumbum Dschamba Ling. Das Kloster der Hunderttausend Bilder Maitreyas. Leipzig, 1933, S. 398
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See also

Historical money of Tibet aspect of history

The use of historical money in Tibet started in ancient times, when Tibet had no coined currency of its own. Bartering was common, gold was a medium of exchange, and shell money and stone beads were used for very small purchases. A few coins from other countries were also occasionally in use.

Tibetan tangka currency of Tibet until 1941

The tangka was a currency of Tibet until 1941. It was subdivided into 15 skar or 1½ sho and, from 1909, it circulated alongside the srang, worth 10 sho.

Tibetan srang

The srang was a currency of Tibet between 1909 and 1959. It circulated alongside the tangka until the 1950s. It was divided into 10 sho, each of 10 skar, with the tangka equal to 15 skar.