The cowrie shell has been used as money in many parts of the world, including China, Africa and Arabia. In China, inscriptions which talk of 'gifts of cowries', 'cowries in the treasury', 'seizure of cowries', 'use of cowries' and 'rewards of cowries' are found on bones and on bronze vessels of the Shang (sixteenth-eleventh centuries BC) and Zhou (eleventh century - 221 BC) dynasties.
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