Square hole of Chinese coins

    Why Chinese cash coins have square central hole?
Scott Semans
    I have heard that it was so the coins, after casting, could be lined up on a square rod to scrape the excess casting metal (flashing) off the edges. With round holes, the coins would not stay in place for scraping. The reason for a hole in the first place was so they could be strung for easier carrying.
Vladimir Belyaev
    I found next quote in the Encyclopedia of Chinese Symbolism and Art Motives by C.A.S.Williams, 1960, NY:
    'The cash with a round hole was no doubt a reminiscence of the amulets and rings, but it soon gave place to the square hole variety, symbolic of Heaven - formerly believed to be round, and Earth - believed to be square.'
    I think that originated from technological process of coins making shape of hole later found it explanation in the Chinese symbolism.
Steve Young
    I've heard a really good one about this. The round coin represents the universe and the square hole represents China, the center of the universe.
Don Pfeifer
    There is a book written by Homer Hulbert called "The Passing of Korea". (Mr. Hulbert lived in Korea from 1886 until 1907 when he was thrown out of Korea by the Japanese. He returned to Korea after World War II and is buried in Seoul. He is considered a Hero to the Koreans.) In this book, on page 236, he talks about coin casting.
    He states, "The metal was poured into moulds....... These were broken up, and the coins were strung on square metal rods that just fitted the hole in the coin. The ends of this rod were then put in a rude vise, and men with enormous coarse files ground down the edges of a thousand or more coins at a time.".
    In other words, in Korea the square hole was used in making the coins. I might also add that the Chinese character for "country" is surrounded by a square.
    The first two words of the Chinese Thousand Character Classic are, "Heaven and Earth" (Tian Di). See Mandel, Cast Coinage of Korea Book, Page 29. There are quite a few Korean amulets with the words, "Heaven and Earth".

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