Prior to 1200 BC surplus farm products were traded for the cast-iron spades, machetes or knives which would be needed for the next year’s farming. About 1200 BC, an enterprising government official had the rather brilliant idea of producing coins shaped like these farm implements, valued comparably, one bronze miniature tool would purchase one full size cast-iron farm tool. Coin spades were called “PU” money, machetes or knives were named “Tao.”
During the evolvement of the spade money, the top, called “shoulders”, alternated between rounded and square, and the bottom, called “feet”, between pointed and square. This coin was minted during the “warring states period” of china which lasted for more than 200 years. Feudalism was the social, economic, and political backbone of the country. A number of provinces began a struggle to conquer each other that would not end until Shih Huang-Ti brought the Chin Dynasty and unification.