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Ethnicities Of The People's Republic 1: 1 Jiao (China, 1980)-Article

Updated: Nov 13, 2021

This small Chinese banknote represents the 1st denomination of the 4th Series Renminbi (People's Currency). First issued 30 September 1988, despite being originally designed in 1980. The 4th Series is also sometimes referred to as the "Heroes" series. For it's Romanized illustrations of China's various ethnic groups and past leaders.

Banknotes from the 4th Series, ended circulation on 30 April 2018. Making them a fairly recent collector's item. After their withdrawal, 4th Series notes were exchangeable at any Chinese bank branch, until 30 April 2019. Although 5 Jiao and 1 Yuan denominated coins currently (2020) remain in circulation.


The observe depicts a Miao and Manchu man in traditional dress, staring into the distance. Symbolizing an advancing future for the Chinese nation. All observe text is in simplified Chinese script, Mandarin dialect. Printed on an ornate Miao-textile inspired background, with a "chainmail" underprint (seen along the edges).

The note's value is depicted in simplified Chinese characters, at the center-right. It reads 壹角 (Yī jiǎo) or "One Jiao", which is equal to 0.1 Yuan. Slightly above and below the Chinese text is a single spiral-line, arranged horizontally. This hidden spirals are a form of passive security measure. Making it more difficult for counterfeiter to successfully copy the note. In addition to guilloché background, below the text.

At the upper right is a header, it reads "中国人民银行 (Zhōngguó rénmíng yínháng). Which translates to the People's Bank of China, the note's issuer. The note's 1 Jiao value is reaffirmed by a number "1", lower left and right corners. The lower right "1" is printed directly the note's background. While the lower left number "1", is printed on a bordered "diamond", with a guilloché background. The note's serial number (L6Z9013962) is printed in red, the lower center.


The reverse features the National Emblem of the People's Republic of China. The National Emblem rests on a rounded diamond background. Which is on a textile background, based on the observe's background. This background (main art) forms the core of reverse's art. The note's design date "1980", is listed immediately below.

Above is the text, Zhōngguó Rénmíng Yínháng (People's Bank of China), on a header. The header is offset to the center-left. To left and right of the main art, are ornate guilloché patterns. A single stylized number "1" rests on pattern. Off-set to the lower-left and upper-right, respectively. The right side pattern states the note "YI JIAO" (one jiao) value, on the lower right.

Below each of these ornate patterns, is a seal in Chinese charters. Below along the lower border is a language table. It translates to "People's Bank of China One Jiao". Listed in Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur, and Zhuang. All printed within their native scripts.

The Miao and Manchu People

The Miao people (man on the left) are an ethnic group native to China's southwestern providences. They primarily live in the mountains and hills of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, and Guangxi providence. Although they have a considerable presence in neighboring Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Burma, and Thailand), where they identify as the Hmong.

According to Tang dynasty (618–907 CE) legend, the Miao originated from Chiyou (蚩尤). The tribal leader of the Nine Li tribe (九黎), who was defeated to the future Yellow Emperor (Huangdi). During the era of the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors (2852-2070 BCE). The Hmong (Southern Miao) generally dispute this claim. Although the common consensus is the Miao were a northern ethnic group, which migrated to the south.

One notable feature that Miao culture is known for its traditional role of women. Which were until modern times were opposed to those of the Han majority. Who's social values were based on ridged Confucian principles. Miao women were known for their greater degree independence and social freedom. Particularly in regards to specialized trades and private business. Making them more desirable, than Han women.

These trades include artistry, textiles, tailoring fine clothing, and jewelry making. The art of casting silver jewelry, is regarded as most valuable within Miao culture. Particularly the creation of marriage headdresses, which symbolizes a family's wealth. Which is immortalized by the traditional Miao saying Miao, “decorated with no silver or embroidery, a girl is not a girl”. As such, many Miao families begin collecting silver early, in their daughter(s) life.

The Manchu people (man on the right) are an ethnic group native to China's northwestern providences. The majority of Manchus live within Liaoning (~50%) and Hebei (~20%) providence, respectively. The Manchu are noted for being the largest minority group within China, without an autonomous region.

The Manchu have had a significant role in shaping Chinese history. They're descended from the Jurchen, a Tungstic-speaking people. Who ruled northwestern China, during the Jin dynasty (1115 -1234 CE). They later founded (as the Manchu) the Qing Dynasty (1636–1912), the final Chinese Imperial Dynasty. Which was formed after a decades long conflict, with the previous Ming Dynasty (1368–1644 CE).

Much like the before mention Miao, Manchu women exercised a greater degree of social freedom. Contrary to Han social values, Manchu women were allowed to converse with men. Although unlike the Miao of southwestern China, Manchu cultural practices are virtually extinct. With much of Manchu culture replaced by Han culture, since the end of the Qing Dynasty.

National and private efforts have been undertaken to preserve the Manchu language and cultural traditions. These efforts include singing traditional songs in Manchu, Ulabun (storytelling in song), and falconry. In addition to holding popular sporting events, such as traditional Manchu-style wrestling, archery competitions, and ice skating.

According to the Qianlong Emperor (1711-1799), ice skating was to regarded as a national custom. The Qing Royal House organized prized winter demonstration, of "Eight Banner Ice Skating Battalion" (八旗冰鞋营). Which was a specialized force of soldiers, trained cross and fight on icy terrains. Thus making the event not only a form of entertainment for visiting rulers and emissaries. But also a display of the martial skill of the Qing Emperor's soldiers.

A Brief Guide To Chinese Currency

A late-Qing Dynasty Guangxu Yuanbao coin. Issued by Guangdong providence, 1900-1906.
A late-Qing Dynasty Guangxu Yuanbao coin.

Chinese currency has been decimalized since prior to the 1890s. Initially inspired by the Spanish Dollar, which circulated in East Asia since the 17th century. The late Qing-era Yuan (1889-1911), was established on par with the Spanish Dollar. Allowing improved trade with the "West", based on a internationally accepted standard.

Official names for modern Chinese currency are descriptive and based on historical terms. Such as a Yuan being described as round. A reference to the original Yuan, being a round silver coin. While it's smaller sub-unit the Jiǎo, is described as being a corner.

A refence to the practice of intentionally cutting sliver coins into segments. For the purpose of payment and "making change". As such a Jiǎo is regarded as a "corner" and was sub-divided into the now obsolete Fen (small potion/bit). (SEE: Yuan Conversion Chart)

In addition, to the before mentioned official names for Chinese currency. There are informal/street names, which vary on region and language. In Mandarin, the term "Kuài" (lump) is used for Yuan. As the term Yuan is rarely used in everyday speech. While the term Máo (feather) is used in place of Jiǎo. Being lighter than "Kuài", which refers to a lump of silver.

Similar terms are also used by other languages spoken in China. For example, in Cantonese the terms for Yuan, Jiǎo , and Fen. Become Mān (dollar), Hòuh (dime), and Sīn (cent), respectively. These terms are largely influence by usage of the Hong Kong Dollar. As the Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region), itself primarily speaks English and Cantonese.

Yuan Conversion Chart

10 Fen (small bit)=1 Jiǎo (corner)

10 Jiǎo (corner)=1 Yuan (round)

100 Fen (small)=1 Yuan (round)

Size Comparison

A 1 Jiao note with a US Dollar for scale.
A 1 Jiao note with a US Dollar for scale.

4th Series Renminbi Gallery

(Gallery contains only banknotes within the database)


Additional Notes

  • This note's size is 115 × 52 mm or 4.53 x 2.05 in, considerably smaller than a US Dollar.

  • The preferable method to preserve this note, is a side-opening sleeve cut to size.

  • Each denomination of the 4th Series Renminbi features different dimensions.

  • In 1992, coins were introduced in 1 Jiao, 5 Jiao, and 1 Yuan denominations.

  • 4th Series coins circulated alongside their banknote equivalents.

  • 4th Series coins were more popular than banknotes and remain in circulation.

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