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. But in the Eastern Han Dynasty, with the emergence of various inferior coins, the "Wuzhu" coinage system was no more honored.

At the end of the Western Han Dynasty, when Wang Mang usurped the throne, he carried out four reforms in the coinage system. But the grading of the new system was too complicated and the reforms ended in failure. However, coins of this period were known for their elegant characters and fine workmanship.

The Wei Kingdom initially used cotton and silk textiles as money and readopted the "Wuzhu" coinage system. The Shu and Wu kingdoms issued some coins of larger denominations, which further devaluated the coins.

The Western Jin and Eastern Jin dynasties continued the coinage systems of the previous dynasties. "Wuzhu" coins were in wide circulation, but the emergence of various inferior coins posed difficulties for the monetary economy. Almost all the rulers of the Northern and Southern dynasties cast their own coins, some with new names other than "Zhu" or "Liang".