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THE CHIN PAN 金版 AND CHIN PING 金饼 COINS—A STUDY OF THE GOLD COINS OF THE STATE OF CH'U AND THE HAN DYNASTY AND SOME RELATED PROBLEMS

An Chih-min  
The chin pan 金版 and chin ping 金饼 are the terms used by Chinese archaeologistsin referring to two types of gold coins of the State of Ch'u and the Han Dynasty.Thediscovery in recent years of a large number of such coins has provided some imporatantdata for archaeological studies.Among the 146 pieces of chin pan unearthed thirteen arewhole ones.The two-word inscription stamped on the chin pan coins has been variously interpretedas representing the words ying yuan 郢爰,ch'(?)n yuan 陈爰 and chuang yuan 专爰.Thecharacters ying and ch'(?)n are generally regarded as the names of the capitals of the Stateof Ch'u while the second character yuan is often thought to denote a weight unit.Judgingby some chin pan coins discovered in recent years,whole pieces of chin pan coins areabout of the same weight as the bronze weights denoting a catty on the scale of the Ch'uState(251.35 grams).This shows that each whole piece of the chin pan coin was equiva-lent to a catty of gold.The author is of the opinion that the second character in theinseription,which has often been erroneously interpreted as representing the characteryuan,should be read as ch'(?)ng 称.In support of this reading he cites the inscriptionying ch'(?)ng stamped on the clay imitations of the chin pan coins found in early Hantombs.Judging by their geographical distribution and the objects found along with them,thechin pan gold coins appeared before the Ch'u people moved their capital to the east in278 B.C.but were still in circulation as late as the early Han.In some cases,they wereburied as hoards in the remains of an even later date.Out of the 111 pieces of the chin ping gold coins discovered in recent years,forty twoare large pieces each weighing about 250 grams which are roughly equivalent to the Hancatty.The rest are all smaller ones each weighing about one sixteenth of the former which isequivalent to one liang 两 of the Han catty.According to their shapes the chin pingcoins may be divided into two groups corresponding to the ling chih chin 麟趾金 and mati chin 马蹄金 mentioned in literary sources. The chin ping was meant to replace the chin pan coins.Archaeological evidence showsthat it appeared before the second year of the reign of T'ai Shih(95 B.C.),the date givenin the Han Shu(History of the Han).Archaeologists have also found large numbers of bronze and clay imitations of thechin pan gold coins,bronze,lead and clay imitations of the chin ping gold coins,as wellas bronze and lead imitations of the chin ping gold coins bearing foreign-looking inscrip-tions.Most of these were made for funerary purpose while the foreign-looking inscriptionswere probably copied from the Parthian coins of the first and second centuries.Al-though opinions still differ as to the origin of these imitations there is little doubt that theywere inspired by the chin ping gold coins.The fact that the chin pan and chin ping coins are largely of same weight is proof ofthe uniformity of the weight denoted by the catty in both the Warring States Period andthe Han Dynasty.This finding agrees with the statement of the Shih Huo Chih 食货志of the Hart Shu"one cubic inch of gold weighs a catty".It can also be proved by measur-ing,weighing and calculating the weight of these coins in terms of the weight and measuresystems of the Ch'u state and the Han Dynasty.
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【Co-citations】
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1 ZHANG Zhi-zhong(Datong Archeology Institute,Datong 037004,China);The Historical Vicissitudes of the Ancient City Datong[J];Academic Journal of Jinyang;2008-02
2 Huang Fengchun;On the Institution of Decorating Coffins with Bi Discs Reflected in Chu Tomb No.2 at Baoshan[J];Archaeology;2001-11
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6 Wuhan Municipal Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology and Jiangxia District Office for the Preservation of Ancient Monuments;Excavation of Eastern Han Tombs at Miaoshan in Jiangxia District,Wuhan[J];Archaeology;2006-05
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1 Zeng Zhongmao (Cultural Relics and Archaeological Research Institute of Sichuan Province, Chengdu 610041);The Analysis of Composition Excavated Gold Vessels From Sacrificial Pits at Sanxingdui[A];[C];2004
【Co-references】
Chinese Journal Full-text Database 4 Hits
1 by T'ien Kuang-chin;THE HSIUNG NU TOMBS AT T'AO-HUNG-PA-LA[J];Acta Archaeologia Sinica;1976-01
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