There were several different units and standards
of weights throughout Chinese History, but the below list is the major units
weights used during the Han Dynasty.
1 Jin = 16 Liang
1 Liang = 24 Zhu
1 Zhu = 10 Lei
Lei = 10 seeds of
Coin values were based on their weight; the more a coin weighted, the
more it was worth. Many coins were labeled with the amount that they
weighed on them (some symbols are unidentified). This caused the constant
threat of counterfeiting because a person could simply label a coin with
a higher value than it was worth or chip off some of the weight and pass
that coin off the marked value.
This is the approximate conversion into the current metric system:
1 Jin = approximately
1 Liang = approximately 15.5 grams.
1 Zhu = approximately 0.64-0.65 grams (the definition of this unit was 10 millet seeds, so the
actual weight will vary).
The word Jin has three meanings: ax, spade coin and a weight measure.
This gives a clear meaning about how weight and value were considered
on and the same.
The work Liang means two it could be 2 times 12 Zhu equals 1 Liang. The
word for carriage was Liang because there were two wheels.
The Zhu was made up of 10 Lei. This is much closer to the current
base 10 metric system than the other units (Liang and Jin). The Zhu
was replaced by the Qian in 621 CE during the Tang Dynasty.
The Bei was
the unit name for cowry shells (similar to the dollar). Shells, as
in other countries, were used as money before metallic coins were invented.
It is know that a string of Cowry shell was also used, but the name
for these strings is unknown.
Han Dynasty coin
During the Han Dynasty, the government tried to standardize the way
coins were made. Visit http://users.cybercity.dk/~dsl60734/casting/Casting_of_coins_in_Han.html
to learn more about the casting of coins.
To see samples of how much ancient Han dynasty coins are worth today, visit http://www.seaeaglecoin.com/han.html.
Notice that this web site is not a conversion of how much the coins
would be presently worth, but how much they sell for today to a collector.
For more information on Han Dynasty weights and coins, visit http://larsbo.homepage.dk/weights.html.
This site is the source of information for this web page.