Hartill 3.36 ANCIENT CHINA Flat handled spade money Yu Ban Jin Pre-Imperial 400 BC !


Flat handled spade money Pre-Imperial (770-220 BC)

Yu Ban Jin


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Reference: Hartill 3.36

Obv: Yu Ban Jin, 虞 半 釿

Weight: 4.3 grams, Size: 35 mm x 45 mm; Bronze


Found in great quantities near Ping Lu in the far south of Shanxi.



These have lost the hollow handle of the early spades. They nearly all have distinct legs, suggesting that their pattern was influenced by the pointed shoulder Hollow Handled Spades, but had been further stylized for easy handling. They are generally smaller, and sometimes have denominations specified in their inscriptions as well as place names. This, together with such little evidence as can be gleaned from the dates of the establishment of some of the mint towns, show that they were a later development. Archaeological evidence dates them to the Warring States period (475-221 BC). Arched Foot spades have an alloy consisting of about 80% copper; for other types the copper content varies between 40% and 70%.

  • Arched foot spades: This type has an arched crutch, often like an inverted U. The shoulders can be rounded or angular. Denominations of half, one, or two jin are normally specified. They are associated with the State of Liang (also known as Wei) which flourished between 425 and 344 BC, and the State of Han (403-230 BC).

  • Special spades of Liang: Similar in shape to the Arched Foot spades. Their inscriptions have been the subject of much debate. All are now agreed that these coins were issued by the State of Liang, and the inscriptions indicate a relationship between the jin weight of the coins, and the lie, another unit of weight or money.



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Hartill 3.36 ANCIENT CHINA Flat handled spade money Yu Ban Jin Pre-Imperial 400



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