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Dynasty: Chou (Zhou) dynasty - State of Yan
Ruler: Anonymous
Reigned: 1122-255 B.C.
Denomination: Bronze "one-knife" Cash
Date of Issue: 300 - 220 B.C.
Obverse: "Yi-Dao" or "Yi-Hua" ="one hua or one-knife"
Reverse: Blank
Reference: S 78, Hartill 6.17 (nearest)
Weight: 1.9 gms
Diameter: 20 mm

Chou (Zhou, Ch'u) dynasty

The Eastern Chou Dynasty (770-256), which followed on from the Western Chou Dynasty, was the largest of several states in northern China. This was the 'Chan Kou' period, the 'Epoch of the Warring States', which was from 403 to 221 BC. The power of the kings had waned, and the independence of the feudal lords increased. Larger principalities were established which allied with one another in defence against the nomads. The country was wracked by continual wars, which led to impoverishment of some of the nobility. The peasants gained in importance, since they now became the determining factor in the conduct of warfare, rather than the charioteers. The merchant class became the most important element sustaining the state; merchants collected from vassals the duties-in-kind which were important in sustaining the cities. The 'Warring States' period ended in 221, when Cheng, the ruler of Ch'in, annexed the remaining 6 states of Han, Chao, Wei, Ch'u, Yen and Ch'i.

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