Gold, one of the world’s most precious and noblest metals, has long been associated with royalty and wealth, not only in China but also around the world. Like most cultures, gold is a valuable and significant metal in Chinese culture. Read on to learn what gold represented in ancient China, its uses, and its history.
Gold had several uses in ancient China, the most popular being as a therapeutic agent or drug to treat several diseases. Pure gold was used to treat smallpox, furuncles, and skin ulcers. Physicians used gold drugs to treat lung, measles, and joint diseases.
Additionally, gold was used as jewelry by both men and women to show status. Gold jewelry was given during celebrations as gifts as well. Lastly, gold was used as a form of currency in the form of coins in ancient China.
History of gold in China
Gold in China dates back to the 3rd millennium BC when it was first mined in western China during the Zhou, Xia, and ShangDynasties. Historians believe gold as currency in China began during the Qin Dynasty, followed by Han, Xin, and Jin Dynasty. Today, China gets its gold from the eastern provinces of Fujian, Liaoning, Henan, and Shandong, and its uses have remained the same.
Ancient Chinese gold coin
It’s believed that the Chu state was the first state in ancient China to use gold coins called “Yuan Jin.” These coins were engraved with the word “Ying Cheng.” Ancient Chinese gold coins were made of gold sheets which were 3-5mm thick and were valued based on their weight.
What does gold mean in Chinese culture?
Gold had several meanings in Chinese culture, one being power. Gold symbolized political and divine power in ancient Chinese culture. It displayed one’s status and was critical in social and spiritual rites. The more gold one had, the more powerful one was.
Also, gold symbolized beauty. The wearer of gold jewelry and adornments was deemed beautiful, fertile, and with creative power. Gold was worn by both men and women and had eroticism associated with it in the beauty context.
Gold also symbolized divinity in ancient Chinese culture, as the purity and charm of the metal were closely linked to divine powers. Gold was also used during worship and to honor gods.
Why was gold important in ancient China?
Gold was crucial in ancient China as it symbolized power, riches, beauty, nobility, longevity, happiness, and divinity. Gold was historically considered a significant component in the “potion of immortality.” It was used in many celebrations and rituals due to its divine power.
Like most cultures, gold was crucial in ancient China and was used for numerous purposes. Today, gold is still valuable in China and is typically used during important celebrations like weddings and childbirth. This metal is still associated with wealth, power, and beauty.
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