China was one of the first countries in the world to use money. In the late Neolithic Period, livestock and natural cowries were used as a form of currency. In the Shang and Zhou Dynasties (16th century芒鈧€?21 BC), unwrought weight metals and cast coins appeared with the rise of commodity exchanges.
Cast bronze coins were the main types of coins used in ancient China. Round coins with square holes superseded all pre-Qin coins and became the dominant form of Chinese coins from the unification of China in the Qin Dynasty (221芒鈧€?06 BC) to the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644芒鈧€?911). However, various monetary systems were used throughout the dynasties.
Paper money first emerged in the Song Dynasty (960芒鈧€?279), and were widely circulated in the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties (1271芒鈧€?911). Silver dollars appeared in the Daoguang Reign (1821芒鈧€?850) of the Qing Dynasty, and minted silver and copper coins were circulated widely beginning with the Guangxu Reign (1875芒鈧€?908) of the Qing Dynasty. Currencies developed closely with the social, economic and political systems of each historical period茫鈧€?/P>
From the Han (206 BC芒鈧€?20) and Tang (618芒鈧€?07) dynasties, Chinese bronze coins and paper notes began to be copied by various neighboring countries. Around the same time, foreign currencies flowed into China, thus stimulating the development of an international commercial economy.