CHINA, ZHOU Dynasty, special bead money

$34.00

CHINA, ZHOU Dynasty, 1122-255 BC, special bead money, Obverse: consists of a pair of round half-beads with 3 zigzags between them, 2 of these constructs attached parallel, bronze, 42x24mm, 7.55g, F

In stock

SKU: 2171603 Categories: ,

Description

The so-called “bead money” has been found in large quantities. The guy who sold me these called them “special” bead money. They do not seem to be a use object. Perhaps they functioned as a small ingot.

There are a variety of small bronze items that have been speculatively considered to have been some kind of local money, but they are not mentioned in the classical Chinese monetary and numismatic books. Notwithstanding, some of these objects are found in such large quantities that it seems reasonable to consider them as money objects.

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.