Authentic jade cowrie-shell, Upper Xiajiadian culture (1000-600 BC), China

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Primitive earliest Chinese coinage - cowrie shell imitation made out of carved light jade with two holes for stringing. 19mm long, 1.05 grams. Hartill type #1.2var.

Cowries were used as primitive money in China since the 2nd millenium BC. Later on, bronze cowrie-shaped coins and cowrie-shaped coins made out of carved stone (like this piece) were used as money. This type, made of carved light jade, is attributed to the Upper Xiajiadian culture in the Northeast China. Rare local cowrie issue.

The Upper Xiajiadian culture was a Bronze Age archaeological culture in Northeast China derived from the Eurasian steppe bronze tradition, and roughly contemporaneous to the Western Zhou Dynasty. The culture was found mainly in southeastern Inner Mongolia, northern Hebei and western Liaoning, China; its range was slightly larger than that of the Lower Xiajiadian culture, reaching areas north of the Xilamulun River. Compared to the Lower Xiajiadian culture, the population levels were lower, less dense, and more widespread. The culture still relied heavily on agriculture, but also moved toward a more pastoral, nomadic lifestyle. The social structure changed from being an acephalous or tribal society to a more chiefdom-oriented society. The type site is represented by the upper layer at Xiajiadian, Chifeng, Inner Mongolia. This coin is unconditionally guaranteed to be authentic.