Qin Dynasty


In 221 BC, Emperor Qin Shihuang unified the six countries of Han, Zhao, Wei, Chu, Yan and Qi, and founded the State of Qin. In the early of the Qin dynasty, in order to consolidate the unstable situation and regime, Qin Shihuang formulated laws that unified weights and measures, writing, and currency.



Before the Qin unified the six countries, the shapes of coins of various countries were different, such as shovel coins, knife coins, ring coins, etc., and they could only be circulated within their respective jurisdictions. Qin Banliang is the new type of currency that replaces different currency of six countries.




The Qin Banliang were made of bronze and were larger in size in the early Qin dynasty—more than 3 cm in diameter. As the country turned from prosperity to decline, due to the needs of market commodity circulation, Banliang also shrank and lost weight. In the late Qin Dynasty, the money shape became smaller, the diameter of the money was mostly below 3 cm, and the weight was about 3-4 grams, it is light and easy to carry, and can be strung together.

The shape of the half-two is a circle with a square hole in the middle, which represents the ancient Chinese people’s understanding of “a place with a round sky”. At the same time, this shape also implies the mission given to the emperor by God, who is chosen by God.




Qin Shihuang established the first centralized monarchy in Chinese history. His decision to consolidate the power produced profound ideals for the subsequent dynasty development in China. Except Banliang, seal script also influenced Chinese characters. The font of seal script is correct and standardized, and the strokes are evenly thick and thin. They are distributed on the left and right sides of the half-square holes. Some scholars have analyzed the reason why Qin Shihuang chose seal script because it is more beautiful than other characters at the time. Seal script has a primary role of cultural control. Half-two provides a template for the subsequent form of Chinese currency, while seal script is the basis for the evolution of other Chinese characters.

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