Chinese Empire, Sycee Yuansi, Value 3 Tael

Silver ingots were made in many different shapes and sizes. This specimen is of a type known by the quaint name of silk-shoe money the bars were shaped like the silk shoes on the tiny feet of aristocratic Chinese women. From the 6th century onwards, the feet of aristocratic girls were bandaged from birth, because small feet were considered a mark of beauty in women. Silk-shoe ingots were supposedly cast for the first time in the 13th/14th centuries. They were made in weights ranging from a tenth to 100 taels or liangs. The weight of a tael or liang, however, varied from region to region, but is most often estimated as 36 grams (1.27 ounces).

Year of issue

19. Jh. n. Chr.