What looks like a great piece of art, a mixture of stylistic forms, is in actuality the oldest surviving banknote. The Chinese were printing text centuries before Gutenberg introduced the printed book in the West. What they also printed well before such was done in Europe was banknotes. This one dates from c. 1375 and is the earliest banknote that survives today. It’s made of mulberry bark and looks kind of attractive in its simplicity. “Great Ming precious money. For circulation throughout the empire,” it reads in Chinese characters. The note measures 340x222 mm, a fist taller than an iPad. Printing money may have been innovative in the medieval world, and the result quite artistic, carrying the bills around was not particularly convenient unless you had a super-size wallet.
More information from the British Museum: this written piece and this movie.
Yesterday a project I’ve been working on for either several weeks or five years, depending on how you measure ambition, finally came into being: our first-ever live Colorlines.com webchat, on the groundbreaking work that Southern organizers are doing across race, gender and sexuality. I couldn’t be prouder of how it turned out. Jamilah is excellent, Bishop Rawls was brilliant (and went in hard on trans allies who don’t include trans people in their conversations), all our readers who asked questions on Twitter were on point, and Jay, Nayana and Tiffany working behind the scenes were impeccable. So so grateful to be a part of this incredible team, and so happy that the technology has finally arrived at a point where a publication with our beautiful imbalance of resources and ambition can make this happen and make media that looks and feels like this.
Prepare yourself for a powerful experience. Get it:iPad // PDF //Kindle.
Heroines is packed with incredible stories told by courageous women from around the world. Meet veterans of the U.S. military, bellydancers, women who have escaped Nepal’s human trafficking trade, and more! Heroines is included with a Symbolia subscription, and can be purchased as a single issue for $2.99.
This issue features:
Nichole Marinaccio de Freitas and Jeff Ruliffson on hard choices, tattoos, and military life.
Luna and Leela Corman share a day in the life of a bellydancer in contemporary Cairo.
Dan Archer interviews Meera, a survivor of human trafficking in Nepal.
Sara Mirk and Lucy Bellwood interview two veterans who served at Guantánamo Bay.