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Coin sword

From the Chinese world, 18th century AD

For driving away evil

The purpose of a coin sword is to drive away evil. This coin sword is made from brass cash coins attached to a central iron rod using lucky red string. The swords were considered most effective when the coins all had the same inscription. The best coins for a coin sword were believed to be those of the Kangxi emperor (1662-1722) or, as here, his grandson, the Qianlong emperor (1736-1796), because both ruled for a full sixty-year cycle according to the Chinese calendar.

It is still possible to find coin swords in China, although modern versions are usually made of moulded plastic. Sometimes coin swords are used as props in Chinese kung-fu movies, where they can be seen above the bed of a person tormented by demons.

J. Williams (ed.), Money: a history (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)

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