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Early Chinese Heavy Knife Money

(500 BC - 300 BC)


Before the introduction of round coins, the Chinese used a variety of other shapes of money. The most common shape was perhaps knife money, which itself comes in a variety of forms. The following  example is often called heavy knife money, which is found in only one basic style that has multiple characters, rims, and reverse markings. Heavy knifes are traditionally considered as an early form of knife money perhaps because of its size and because some forms of money tended to get smaller over time. An alternate view is that this form of money was the most recent form of knife money because it has more detail than other forms of knife money.

Most Heavy knives are inscribed with three characters however 4 and 5 character knives are known. The example below is a rare five character knife with a beautifully of red, green, and blue.
patina. The knife weighs 51.2 grams.