East Asian money comes in a variety of different forms, including:

cowries, coins, ingots, tokens, paper money, gold, silver, copper, commodity money, token-money, textiles

Sometimes East Asian money is counted by the unit (eg 1 cowrie or 1 coin)

Sometimes East Asian money is measured by the amount (eg weight or dimensions) of a particular quality of material (eg silver, gold or silk)


What we can learn from looking at coins and other money-objects?

  • Evidence of the intentions of the issues
    • Concept – form, inscriptions, calligraphy, security features
    • Materials – metals, paper, bamboo, textiles
    • Production technology – mining, casting, moulds, dies, plates, printing
  • Evidence of how the money was used
    • Condition (worn, mutilated, adapted)
    • Context (where was it found)