The Yuan Jin of the Chu state

Knife- or spade coins were never used in the state of Chu. Besides the ant nose money, the only other coin known from this state were the Yuan Jin gold coins. They were stamped pieces of thin gold plate that were broken off from a larger plate. The stamps had the name of a city and the character Yuan on them. Yuan was probably the money unit or designation, and there were three different cities mentioned. The first mention of the Yuan Jin as a monetary unit was in the history of the Shang period, the Shang Shu. Although there has been discovered Yuan Jin in other materials, these could well have been burial money. Because we have some knowledge about the cities mentioned on the legends, we know that the they could have been in use no earlier than 740 B.C. and at least up until 242 B.C. (Wang p. 180-186).

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