Survey of Chinese ceramics, £14.95
China, 18th-19th century AD
Coin-swords were a form of
The coins in this sword are almost all from the reign of the Qianlong emperor (1736-95). However, it is thought that coin-swords made with coins of his grandfather, the Kangxi emperor (1662-23), were even more effective in driving away evil influences. This is because the Kangxi emperor reigned for a full sixty-year cycle of the Chinese calendar, and his name means good health and prosperity.
Today, the easiest place to see a coin-sword in use is in Chinese kung fu movies, where, if a person is writhing on his sickbed, tormented by fever, there is often a coin-sword hanging on the wall above the bed.