Charm Coin Yong An Wu Nan, Four Divine Creatures,Perpetual peace to five sons We

Charm Coin Yong An Wu Nan, Four Divine Creatures,Perpetual peace to five sons Wei Dynasties 529 AD

Ancient China

North & South Dynasties, Wei Dynasties

Yong An Wu Nan

Yong An, in English means: Peace forever



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Northern Dynasties, Northern Wei (386-534)

Diameter: 53.6 mm; Weight: 50.8 grams; Material: Bronze


Obv: Yong An Wu Nan 永安五男 which means: Perpetual peace to five sons

A peaceful existence of one's five male offspring.

Rev: Four Divine Creatures 四靈 - 青龍、白虎、朱雀和玄武

Four Divine Creatures

The Four Divine Creatures, also known as the Four Heraldic Animals, Four Directional Animals, and Four Symbols (si xiang 四象), symbolize the four directions and an associated season as follows: Vermillion (Red) Bird (zhuque 朱雀) south and summer; White Tiger (baihu 白虎) west and autumn; Azure Dragon (qinglong 青龙) east and spring; black tortoise coiled around by a snake known as the Black Tortoise (Black Warrior) (xuanwu 玄武) north and winter. (See also entries for "Tortoise" and "Snake" below)
A coin displaying the four directions and the 28 mansions associated with the Four Divine Creatures may be seen at Chinese Astronomy Coins.


Yong An Wu Zhu

This coin was first issued in the autumn of the second year of Yongan (529) by Emperor Xiao Zhuang. It is said that it continued to be cast until 543 under the Eastern and Western Wei dynasties. During the Eastern Wei dynasty, private coins with nicknames such as Yongzhou Green-red, Liangzhou Thick, Constrained Cash, Auspicious Cash, Heyang Rough, Heavenly Pillar, and Red Halter circulated, all possibly Yong An Wu Zhus.

The North and South Dynasties (420-581)

The North and South Dynasties era was another long period of disunity and strife. The north and south of China were each ruled by two separate successions of dynasties. During this period, coin inscriptions other than (nominal) weights, such as names or year titles, were introduced, although the Wu Zhu coin was still issued. Seal script remained the norm for inscriptions and some coins of highly regarded calligraphy were produced. However, the general coinage was of a very poor quality. In 465, permission was granted for the people to mint coins. A thousand of these “goose eye” coins which resulted made a pile less than three inches (76 mm) high. There were others, still worse, called “Fringe Rim” coins, which would not sink in water and would break in one’s hand. In the market, people would not bother counting them, but would pick them up by the handful. A peck of rice sold for 10,000 of these. Reforms by Emperor Ming from 465 onwards, had only a limited success in improving the quality of the coinage.

In 118 B.C., coins "Wuzhu" (five "zhu", a "zhu"-a weight unit approximately 0.66 gram) were cast. The currency system "Wuzhu" had since been established. After the Eastern Han, the currency system "Wuzhu" was undermined by the appearance of various inferior coins. At the end of the Western Han, Wang Mang waged four reforms of currency system. The reforms failed due to the fact that the grading category was too complicated. However, coins of this period were well known for their elegant style and fine workmanship.

The Wu Zhu coins were a reform to regularize the currency after the anarchy of the Ban Liang coins, which anyone could cast in any size they wanted. They were made to a standard module from about 118 BC until after the end of the Han dynasty in 221 AD (with time out for Wang Mang). After the end of the Han Dynasty the denomination persisted, but people started fooling around with them, making them smaller, adding extra characters, etc. All told the Wu Zhu coins were made for about 700 years.



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Charm Coin Yong An Wu Nan, Four Divine Creatures,Perpetual peace to five sons We