Ancient Chinese Coins


China is one of the earlist countries to use currencies in the world. The currencies used in ancient China were usually metallic coins, most of which had been engraved with characters or motifs. During the five thousand years of development, China has given birth to a variety of currencies. These currencies, made of diversified materials and into different shapes, have become the gem of ancient Chinese civilization.

Pre-Qin Period

Natural cowries were used as a form of money in the late Neolithic Period and were in continuous circulation in the Shang and Western Zhou dynasties when unwrought weight metal mainly in the form...

From the Qin to the Sui Dynasties

In 118 B.C., Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty began to cast "Wuzhu" coins (meaning five "zhu", a "zhu" is a weight unit which equals approximately 0.66 gram) and established the "Wuzhu" coinage system.

From the Tang to the Song Dynasties

"Wuzhu" coins were used in the early Tang Dynasty. The emergence of "Kaiyuan Tongbao" coins in 621 A.D. marked the end of the "Zhu" and "Liang" coinage systems.

The Yuan and Ming Dynasties

There were two types of Yuan bronze coins. One carried Chinese inscriptions and the other Mongolian inscriptions.

The Qing Dynasty and Modern Times

"Yinliang", also made of silver, prevailed in the market during the Qing Dynasty. In 1884, Jilin became the first province to mint silver dollars.