Coin-Like Charm

About this object

History of use

A coin-like charm, which could have circulated; not from the period it purports to be from. (Larson, David) These were Ming-Qing reproductions of Wuzhu, the standard currency of China between the 1st century B.C. and the 7th century A.D. In later historical periods, these coins were attributed with magical and pharmaceutical value as archaic relics. Ming medical encyclopedias mention that Wuzhu coins were ground up and mixed with other ingredients for treating women. Daoist practitioners also use these ancient coins in their rituals. Some Wuzhu did bear symbols of religious and auspicious connotation, such as star constellations. These were rare and highly desireable. The specimens in the Campbell Brown Collection represent a modified imitation of the original Han coins and have religious symbols for the purposes mentioned above, (with the exception of pharmaceutical, which requires genuine coins with a patina). These charms were created in the form of ancient charms for a special purpose. They may be passed on as forgeries of ancient charm coins depending on the circumstances. (Li, Min)

Physical description

Round, square hole in centre, outer rims on both sides, two Chinese characters in seal-script on obverse, design on reverse; diagonal lines from corner of inner rim to outer rim on reverse, four stars top-bottom-right-left.