In China charms are known as “yen sheng ch’ien”, or “yan sheng zhu”, but more popularly as “hua chien” (flower coin), or “wan chien” (play coin). They have been used for a variety of reasons; to gain good luck, ward off evil, ensure the gender of a child, promote childbearing, or to increase passion. None of these charms were ever, of course, used for money.
It is very difficult to trace the history and development of charm coinage, but history shows it began in China as early as the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD).
This charm was minted during the Qing Dynasty. It was the strongest and most gloriuous of the Chinese dynasties, enduring for nearly 300 years. As with most complicated government systems it grew inflexible, and could not adjust to new problems arising as the country, the people and the world evolved. This powerful ruling family stretched from the late middle ages into fairly modern times. It was the demands of modern times that ended its reign.