CHINA amulet 20th century 7 stars above 3 stars below FU LU (Happiness Longevity bat above deer below


CHINA, amulet, no date (20th century), 7 stars above, 3 stars below, FU LU (Happiness, Longevity), bat above, deer below, bronze, 37mm, 20.54g, H4.3930, F

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The seven stars are called Beidou (northern dipper) in Chinese, and is the same as Ursa Major (Big Bear, Big Dipper) in the West. The three stars (Shen Xiu) are the belt of the Western constellation of Orion.

Chinese coin-like good luck pieces, except modern struck ones, which are with exonumia. Money itself has always been considered good luck, and the belief that objects can have spiritual power aligned with their purpose has always been popular. Amulets are known from as early as the Han Dynasty, and, considering the auspicious associations of fish, perhaps back to the Zhou period.

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.