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Denomination: 1 Copper ShoDate: Circa 1918-1928 CE
Description: The obverse shows a left-facing lion; the reverse, dots in reverse arabesques.
History: Bounded by the white-capped Himalayas and the Kunlun Shan, the land of Tibet is topographically isolated from the rest of the world. For centuries outsiders were few and far between. Buddhist monks, led by a succession of Dalai Lamas, devoted themselves to matters of the spirit, literally looking down on the world from the mountaintop. This curious blend of religious sophistication and geographical remoteness gave rise to a mythology. Tibet was a forbidden land, an exotic kingdom in the clouds, the presumed location of the fabled Shangri-La—a land of dreams.
Tibetan coinage is quite scarce. The first local mint did not open until 1791, only to close two years later. Tibet did not issue its own coins again until 1836, and continued to do so in small mintages until 1950, when the country was taken over by the People’s Republic of China.