Ancient Chinese bronze ring “money”


CHINA, ZHOU Dynasty, 1122-255 BC, rings, small, flattened ovals with “gems” on one side, small oval with crenellations on one side, bronze, average 13x10x2mm, 0.61g, 0.69g, 0.85g, too small to wear, lot of 3, F-VF

1 in stock

SKU: r205a1524 Categories: ,


There is a group of ancient Chinese bronze objects that some people like to think of as money of some sort. Most of the people who think that way are not Chinese. Chinese tend to look at the ancient texts that mention money and point out that none of them mention these things. The quantities known of some of these enigmatic objects tend toward the monetary view.

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.