Silver Zhou dynasty China 650 BC Square shoulder type Hollow handled spade Xu

Zhou dynasty of China (1045 to 700 BC)


Silver Hollow handled spade money

Square shoulder type

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Reference: Hartill 2.1

Material: Silver; Weight: 60 grams, Size: 92 x 50 mm

Inscription: Xu 需 (Hartill 2.96)

Hollow handled spade money

Square shoulder spades

Square shoulder spades: characteristics of this type of spade coin include square shoulders, a straight or slightly curving foot, and three parallel lines on the obverse and reverse. They are found in quantities of up to several hundreds in the area corresponding to the Royal Domain of Zhou (south Hebei and north Henan). Archaeological evidence dates them to the early spring and autumn period, approximately 650 BC and onward.

The inscriptions on these coins usually consist of one character, which can be either a number, a cyclical character, a place name, or the name of a clan. The crude writing is that of the artisans who made the coins, not the more careful script of the scholars who wrote the votive inscriptions on bronze. The style of writing is consistent with that of the middle Zhou period. Over two hundred inscriptions are known. Many have not been fully deciphered. The characters can be found on the left or right of the central line and may be inverted or retrograde. They are found in hoards of hundreds rather than thousands, sometimes tied together in bundles. Although there is no mention in the literature of their purchasing power, it is clear that they were not small change.

 

Hollow handled spade money

 

Hollow handled spades (Chinese: 布幣; pinyin: bùbì) are a link between weeding tools used for barter and stylised objects used as money. They are clearly too flimsy for use, but retain the hollow socket by which a genuine tool could be attached to a handle. This socket is rectangular in cross-section, and still retains the clay from the casting process. In the socket the hole by which the tool was fixed to its handle is also reproduced.

Prototype spade money: This type of Spade money is similar in shape and size to the original agricultural implements. While some are perhaps robust enough to be used in the fields, others are much lighter and bear an inscription, probably the name of the city which issued it. Some of these objects have been found in Shang and Western Zhou tombs, so they date from c. 1200-800 BC. Inscribed specimens appear to date from c. 700 BC.

 

 

 

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Silver Zhou dynasty China 650 BC Square shoulder type Hollow handled spade Xu

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