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BC800 Ancient Hand Carved Wood Cowrie Sea Shell Money Amulet Zhou Dynasty China

CAD 225.92 Buy It Now Unsold, CAD 21.25 Shipping, 30-Day Returns

Seller: ancientgifts (4,184) 99.3%, Location: Lummi Island, Washington, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 122049850176 TRANSLATE Arabic Chinese French German Greek Indonesian Italian Hindi Japanese Korean Swedish Portuguese Russian Spanish 0 document.write(''); document.write(' '); document.write(' '); document.write(' '); document.write(' '); document.write(' '); document.write(' '); document.write(' '); document.write(' '); document.write(' '); document.write(' '); } else { document.write(' '); document.write(' '); document.write(' This Vendio Gallery is best viewed with Macromedia Flash Player 6 or higher. '); document.write(' Click here to get the latest Macromedia Flash Player. '); document.write(' '); document.write(' '); document.write(' '); } //--> Your browser does not support JavaScript. To view this page, enable JavaScript if it is disabled or upgrade your browser. Click here to see 1,000 archaeology/ancient history books and 2,000 ancient artifacts, antique gemstones, antique jewelry! Ancient 3,000 Year Old Hand Carved Wooden Cowrie Shell Money Amulet (Brooch/Stickpin). CLASSIFICATION: Hand Carved Wooden Cowrie Shell Money, Hand-Drilled Suspension Hole (Bow Drill). Approximately 800 B.C. ATTRIBUTION: Ancient China, Western Zhou Dynasty (1027BC-770BC). SIZE/DIMENSIONS: Weight: 1.19 grams. Length: 19 millimeters. Width: 14 millimeters. Thickness: 5 millimeters. Chain: Contemporary gold electroplate 60 centimeters (24 inches). A wide variety of other chains are available upon request in sizes from 16 to 30 inches, and in metals ranging from gold and silver electroplate to sterling silver and solid 14kt gold as well as a bronze-toned copper chain. The default chain (absent contrary instructions) is gold electroplate, 24 inches. For a more authentic touch, we also have available handcrafted Greek black leather cords. CONDITION: Exceptional! Completely intact. DETAIL: A remarkable hand carved wooden cowrie shell money pendant/amulet almost 3,000 years old attributable to the Western Zhou Dynasty of ancient China. Though the use of shells as “money” originated in Sumeria around 3,000 B.C., it was the cowrie shell that became the world’s longest-lived form of currency. The first use of cowries, the shell of a mollusc that was widely available in the shallow waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, was in China around 1,200 B.C. Historically, many societies have used cowries as money, and even as recently as the middle of the last (20th) century, cowrie shells were still used in some parts of Africa. As such the cowrie shell was the most widely and longest used currency in history. So important a role did the cowrie play as money in ancient China that its pictograph was adopted in their written language for 'money'. During the Zhou Dynasty four different forms of money developed in ancient China. Aside from the traditional cowrie shells, iron, copper, and wooden forms of money were also traded. Beginning sometime around 900 B.C., iron was crafted into spade and knife shapes, as well as round disks with square holes (the predecessor of the prototypical ancient Chinese coin). Given the importance of the cowrie shell, it should come as no surprise that hand carved wooden imitation cowrie shells such as this one were also produced for use as “money”. By about 600 A.D., copper and bronze cowrie shells were also being used as money. Copper and bronze agricultural implements were also used as money. In fact, before the close of the Zhou Dynasty, squares of white deerskin leather were also being used as money, in all likelihood the ancient world’s first form of a “bank note”. Regardless of whether you choose to wear it or to display it, this is a truly significant and very beautiful artifact – one of mankind’s first abstract forms of “money”. The shell coins of Sumeria and ancient China are quite significant in cultural and anthropological terms, mankind’s first intangible, abstract form of money. Prior to this time goods of value might be bartered for other goods; but never sold for “money”, an abstraction with no intrinsic value. The most common form of “money” prior to such an abstraction was a cow – hardly transportable and not very beautiful when worn! Both the Sumerians and the ancient Chinese wore their money on cords around their neck – an ostentatious display of their wealth – as did the native Americans with their “wampum”. Even this piece seems likely to have been strung. Here’s your chance to ostentatiously display a piece of your own ancient money! HISTORY OF THE ZHOU DYNASTY: Sharing the language and culture of the Shang, the Zhou (Chou) Dynasty through conquest and colonization gradually enveloped much of North China. The Zhou dynasty lasted longer than any other, from 1027 to 221 B.C. The early decentralization of the Zhou Dynasty has oftentimes been compared to Europe’s medieval feudal system. However social organization in the Zhou Dunasty was more predicated upon family and tribal ties than feudal legal bonds. Philosophers of the period enunciated the doctrine of the "mandate of heaven", the notion that the ruler (the "son of heaven") governed by divine right. In reality the emperor shared power with the local lords. At times the local lords were oftentimes more powerful than the emperor. In the later dynasty, large scale conflicts oftentimes erupted between rival local lords (eventually culminating in the “Warring States” period). The late Zhou Dynasty’s potpourri of city-states became progressively centralized, characterized by greater central control over local governments and systematic agricultural taxation. The iron-tipped, ox-drawn plow, together with improved irrigation techniques, brought higher agricultural yields, which, in turn, supported a steady rise in population. The growth in population was accompanied by the production of much new wealth, and a new class of merchants and traders arose. However in 771 B.C. the Zhou court was sacked, and its king was killed by invading barbarians who were allied with rebel lords. The Zhou retreated eastward relocating their capital city. Today historians divide the Zhou Dynasty into the Western Zhou (1027-771 B.C.) and Eastern Zhou (770-221 B.C.). The west was abandoned, and the power of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty gradually diminished. The Eastern Dynasty itself is further divided by historians into two periods reflecting the accelerating fragmentation and disintegration of China. The first from 770 to 476 B.C. is called the Spring and Autumn Period. The second is known as the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.), as China completely dissolved. Though marked by disunity and civil strife, these two periods marked an era of cultural advancements known today as the "golden age" of China. Commerce was stimulated by the introduction of coinage. The use of iron not only revolutionized the production of weaponry but also the manufacture of farm implements. An atmosphere of reform was the result of the competition between rival warlords to build strong and loyal armies, requiring increased economic production and a strong tax base. This created a demand for ever-increasing numbers of skilled, literate officials and teachers (a “civil service”), recruited on merit. Public works such as flood control, irrigation projects, and canal digging were executed on a grand scale. Enormous walls were built around cities and along the broad stretches of the northern frontier. Many of the era’s intellectuals were employed as advisers by China’s rulers on the methods of government, war, and diplomacy. So many different philosophies developed during these two periods that the era is often referred to as “The Hundred Schools of Thought”. The period produced many of the great classical writings on which Chinese practices were to be based for the next two and one-half millennia, including those of Confucius (551-479 B.C.). HISTORY OF CHINESE CIVILIZATION: Remains of Homo erectus, found near Beijing, have been dated back 460,000 years. Recent archaeological studies in the Yangtse River area have provided evidence of ancient cultures (and rice cultivation) flourishing more than 11,500 years ago, contrary to the conventional belief that the Yellow River area was the cradle of the Chinese civilization. The Neolithic period flourished with a multiplicity of cultures in different regions dating back to around 5000 B.C. There is strong evidence of two so-called pottery cultures, the Yang-shao culture (3950-1700 B.C.) and the Lung-shan culture (2000-1850 B.C). Written records go back more than 3,500 years, and the written history is (as is the case with Ancient Egypt) divided into dynasties, families of kings or emperors. The voluminous records kept by the ancient Chinese provide us with knowledge into their strong sense of their real and mythological origins – as well as of their neighbors. By about 2500 B.C. the Chinese knew how to cultivate and weave silk and were trading the luxurious fabric with other nations by about 1000 B.C. The production and value of silk tell much about the advanced state of early Chinese civilization. Cultivation of silkworms required mulberry tree orchards, temperature controls and periodic feedings around the clock. More than 2,000 silkworms were required to produce one pound of silk. The Chinese also mastered spinning, dyeing and weaving silk threads into fabric. Bodies were buried with food containers and other possessions, presumably to assist the smooth passage of the dead to the next world. The relative success of ancient China can be attributed to the superiority of their ideographic written language, their technology, and their political institutions; the refinement of their artistic and intellectual creativity; and the sheer weight of their numbers. A recurrent historical theme has been the unceasing struggle of the sedentary Chinese against the threats posed by non-Chinese peoples on the margins of their territory in the north, northeast, and northwest. China saw itself surrounded on all sides by so-called barbarian peoples whose cultures were demonstrably inferior by Chinese standards. This China-centered ("sinocentric") view of the world was still undisturbed in the nineteenth century, at the time of the first serious confrontation with the West. Of course the ancient Chinese showed a remarkable ability to absorb the people of surrounding areas into their own civilization. The process of assimilation continued over the centuries through conquest and colonization until what is now known as China Proper was brought under unified rule. Domestic shipping (insured first class mail) is included in the price shown. Domestic shipping also includes USPS Delivery Confirmation (you might be able to update the status of your shipment on-line at the USPS Web Site). Canadian shipments are an extra $15.99 for Insured Air Mail; International shipments are an extra $19.99 for Air Mail (and generally are NOT tracked; trackable shipments are EXTRA). ADDITIONAL PURCHASES do receive a VERY LARGE discount, typically about $5 per item so as to reward you for the economies of combined shipping/insurance costs. Your purchase will ordinarily be shipped within 48 hours of payment. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers. We do NOT recommend uninsured shipments, and expressly disclaim any responsibility for the loss of an uninsured shipment. Unfortunately the contents of parcels are easily “lost” or misdelivered by postal employees – even in the USA. If you intend to pay via PayPal, please be aware that PayPal Protection Policies REQUIRE insured, trackable shipments, which is INCLUDED in our price. International tracking is at additional cost. We do offer U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail, Registered Mail, and Express Mail for both international and domestic shipments, as well United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (Fed-Ex). Please ask for a rate quotation. We will accept whatever payment method you are most comfortable with. If upon receipt of the item you are disappointed for any reason whatever, I offer a no questions asked return policy. Send it back, I will give you a complete refund of the purchase price (less our original shipping costs). Most of the items I offer come from the collection of a family friend who was active in the field of Archaeology for over forty years. However many of the items also come from purchases I make in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) from various institutions and dealers. Though I have always had an interest in archaeology, my own academic background was in sociology and cultural anthropology. After my retirement however, I found myself drawn to archaeology as well. Aside from my own personal collection, I have made extensive and frequent additions of my own via purchases on Ebay (of course), as well as many purchases from both dealers and institutions throughout the world – but especially in the Near East and in Eastern Europe. I spend over half of my year out of the United States, and have spent much of my life either in India or Eastern Europe. In fact much of what we generate on Yahoo, Amazon and Ebay goes to support The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe connected with Anthropology and Archaeology. I acquire some small but interesting collections overseas from time-to-time, and have as well some duplicate items within my own collection which I occasionally decide to part with. Though I have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, my primary interest is in ancient jewelry. My wife also is an active participant in the “business” of antique and ancient jewelry, and is from Russia. I would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from me. There is a $2 fee for mailing under separate cover. Whenever I am overseas I have made arrangements for purchases to be shipped out via domestic mail. If I am in the field, you may have to wait for a week or two for a COA to arrive via international air mail. But you can be sure your purchase will arrive properly packaged and promptly – even if I am absent. And when I am in a remote field location with merely a notebook computer, at times I am not able to access my email for a day or two, so be patient, I will always respond to every email. Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE."

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