ANCIENT CHINA shell disk


CHINA, ZHOU Dynasty, 1122-255 BC, shell disk, filed back, pearl shell, 32mm diameter, 9mm thick, 14.1g, H1.1, calcined, VF

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SKU: 2291529 Categories: ,


The second picture has been artificially darkened to show some detail.

Shell items are typically archaic and may be from pre-metallic times.

Zhou dynasty was a confederation of little kingdoms with a figurehead Emperor. Various constituent states started using money in their commercial activities. Odd shaped coins such as spade, knife, ant, nose, yibi, and possible money items like fish and cicada money were followed by the early round coins.

The oldest Chinese coins are at least as old as the earliest Greek coins. The Chinese coinage system differed from other systems in two ways. It was monometallic, only bronze coins circulated in general commerce. Gold and silver were treated as commodities. And the manufacturing method was by casting in moulds rather than by striking heated solid planchets. The main reference I use in attributing and describing these coins is the book: Chinese Cast Coins, by David Hartill.