RARE ANCIENT Qi State knife money
Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BC)
Silver Qi Zhi Fa Hua, 5 characters knife, 即墨之法化
The authorized currency of Jimo
Authenticity guaranteed for all items!
Material: Solid Silver
Weight: 48.9 grams; Size: 185 mm
Very Attractive silver tone, Extremely Rare!
The Five Character Knives with the inscription ji mo zhi fa hua (即墨之法化), translating as “Ji Mo Legal Money”, were cast in Jimo which was located in what is now Pingdu in Shandong Province.
Qi knives: These large knives are attributed to the State of Qi, and are found in the Shandong area. They do not appear to have circulated much outside of this area. Although there has been considerable controversy concerning the date of their issue, archaeology shows them to be products of the Warring States period. They are known as Three Character Knives, Four Character Knives and so on, according to the number of characters in their inscriptions. Some consider the three horizontal lines and the mark below on some reverses are part of the inscription. The inscription refers to the establishment of the State of Qi. This could have been in 1122 BC, 894 BC, 685 BC, or 386 BC, depending on how one interprets the early histories. The two later dates are the most likely for the introduction of these coins.
The knife money of the Shantung Peninsula is far less complex than the spade money, but is still poorly understood.The monetary designation of knife money is "HOU", derived from a character meaning "to change" or "to exchange in trade". It is fairly easy to see how this meaning could become a denomination of money. Later, when the early round coins first appeared, the unit of "HOU" came to be used as a more general denomination.
The large heavy knifes may be the most misunderstood part of this series. In most early references they described as the earliest knife form, going back to before 600 BC, but this seems un-likely as they are a highly evolved form with fairly complex inscriptions, and must actually date very date in the series. In Hartill's book (Cast Chinese Coins) he dates them to between 400 and 220 BC, which makes them fairly late in the knife money series. I personally suspect the dates might even have to be moved up a little on that, which I will discuss below. With the exception of the three-character Ch'i knifes, most heavy knifes are rare to extremely rare.
Knife money is the name of large, cast, knife-shaped commodity money produced by various governments and kingdoms in what is now known as China, approximately 2500 years ago. Knife money circulated in China between 600 to 200 B.C. during the Zhou dynasty.
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