Two “Ant Nose” (yibi) Coins

Unknown CreatorEastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period (475 – 221 BCE)

Hallwyl Museum

Hallwyl Museum
Stockholm, Sweden


Eastern ZhoU dynasty, Warring States period (475 – 221 BCE)
Reportedly discovered in Shouzhou (centered in present-day Shou County, Anhui province)
Inventory number: XLIX:I:C.a.01.

These simple drop-shaped coins were minted by the state of Chu during the Warring States period. They were inspired by cowrie shells, which was an older form of currency. The term “ant nose” was due to the inscriptions on the coins looking like faces on some types of these coins (right). They are also known as “ghost face coins” (guilian qian) for the same reason. The holes in the coins allowed them to be strung together.


  • Title: Two “Ant Nose” (yibi) Coins
  • Creator: Unknown Creator
  • Date Created: Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period (475 – 221 BCE)
  • Location Created: China
  • Physical Dimensions: 1.9 x 0.3 cm and 1.7 x 0.2 cm
  • Subject Keywords: Chinese Broze Age, Coins, Coinage, Currency
  • Rights: CC BY

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