|This gold coin is inscribed with the characters "Wu Zhu" and was in circulation during the Western Han Dynasty (202 BC - 24 AD). It was found at a site in Biyuan, Xianyang County. During the Western Han Dynasty the "zhu" was a standard of weight which was equivalent to about .66 grams. In 118 BC the "five zhu" or Wu Zhu coins were cast. Variations appeared later, including the "Chize Wuzhu" and the "Shanglin Wuzhu." During the Eastern Han Dynasty the Wu Zhu system was undermined by the production of inferior coins that destroyed the value of the coins.
Wu Zhu coins were cast in different materials and used molds of clay, bronze, and stone. Two of the molds are shown on the next pages.
Last update: March 2010
© Marilyn Shea, 2010