Henan Museum
Coin with “Yi Dao Ping Wu Qian”
Edit: acf
Time: 2024-07-04 10:17:11
Period: The 2nd Year of Jushe period of Western Han dynasty (7 AD)
Provenance: Gift
Measurements: L.7.4 cm, Dia.2.7 cm, W.29 g

Commonly known as “Jin Cuo Dao” (lit.gold-inlaid knife) and “Cuo Dao” (lit. inlaid knife), the coin is comprised of two parts: the ring and the knife. The ring, just like the “large coin”, has the inner and outer edges, the characters of the denomination run throughout the surface of knife coin, specifically, the first two words “Yi”(one) and “Dao”(knife) were created by the inlaid gold in seal script, and their surface are level with that of the ring; the coin body is blade-shaped with raised edges all around, and three denomination characters “Ping Wu Qian” (lit.valued five thousands) in seal script carved in relief, of which “Ping” denotes “value” or “worth”, it stated that one knife coin was equivalent to the then five thousands wuzhu coins, two knife coins were convertible to one jin(catty) gold in Western Han period (equivalent to half jin of modern gold).

The present knife coin was mint at the 2nd year of Jushe period(equivalent to 7 AD) by Wang Mang at the end of the Western Han dynasty during the first currency reform as a high denomination and abnormal-shaped coin, and it was abolished during the second currency reform in 9 AD of the Wangmang Era, circulated for only two years. Due to its exquisite craftsmanship, unique and innovative form, short circulating duration, and very limited extant quantity, it is highly prized for collections and is also the best physical evidence for studying the history of coins of the late Western Han dynasty.