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"World of Brightness"
World of Brightness
General information
Used by

Heaven and Earth Society (possibly)


c. 18891908

Measurements and composition

17 mm




round with circular hole



  • Guangzhao Manchu
  • Nine stars
  • "光明世界"
v · d · e

The Chinese "World of Brightness" coin was a possible piece of currency that may have been issued by the Heaven and Earth Society. It was minted from about 1889 to 1908.


The "World of Brightness" coin was composed of brass and measured approximately 17 millimeters in diameter. In the center was a round hole. Displayed on the obverse was a legend reading, "光明世界" (pinyin: guāng míng shì jiè; English: "world of brightness"). Three different reverses have been reported. The first displayed a Manchu legend reading, Guangzhao Manchu (Boo-Guwang), indicating the coin was produced at the Guangzhou Mint. Another displayed the same writing from the obverse, while another displayed nine stars.


The meaning and purpose of the "World of Brightness" coin or charm is unknown, and a number of theories have been proposed.

Many believe the coin is actually a form of joss money, which is intended to be buried with the dead. The reasoning is that this coin resembled a cash coin from the reign of Emperor Guangxu. Also, the name, "world of brightness" may be a euphemism for "death".

Another theory is that it was minted by the Heaven and Earth Society, which had the goal of overthrowing the Qing Dynasty of the Manchus to restore the Ming Dynasty of the Han people. Strangely, the coin bore the same character míng (明) used for the Ming Dynasty (明朝), and guāng míng (光明) can be interpreted as "glory of the Ming".

The third, and least accepted theory, is that the coin served as a game piece or gambling token.