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## Appendix I. Standard Weights and Measures of Han TimesThe standard weights and measures are given in
"The measures of length are the "The measures of capacity are the "The method of [construction of the standard
measure is as follows]: Using bronze, [take] a square [which is] a foot [on
each side] and circumscribe [a circle] outside of it, [on each] side making a
[slight] additional space. Its top is the "The weights used with a balance are the Fortunately we are not ignorant of the units
contained in this table. There has been preserved in the imperial palace at
Peking an imperial standard measure that is dated by its inscription in 9 A.D.,
during the reign of Wang Mang. It came to light in 1924. A hundred of these
standard measures are said to have been made and distributed about the empire,
of which only this one remains. This measure is plainly alluded to in the
passage of the
This standard measure is a bronze right cylinder in
shape, with a membrane across it one inch from one end, thus making of the two
ends a Mr. H. Ma 馬衡 of the National Palace Museum, Peiping,
has very kindly supplied me with measurements of this important standard
measure. The Mr. Ma Heng also very kindly sent me a copy of a
paper by the late Dr. Fu Liu 劉復, in which Dr. Liu tells that he examined four
weights dating from the time of Wang Mang, which were in the
possession of the Peiping 古物保管委員會. These four weights are evidently of 3, 6, 9, and 60
catties respectively, and weighed 730.050 g., 1446.150 g., 2222.870 g., and
14775.000 g., respectively. The first two have no inscription; the third is
marked "律九斤 Nine Legal Catties," and the fourth is marked "律二⼀ Two Legal
[ Dr. Liu had previously weighed the standard measure
of Wang Mang, which the Twenty average size seeds were weighed by an expert
and the weight of a seed (average of three weighings) was found to be 0.00590
grams, so that the ancient tael weighed about 218 gr. or 14 g. According to the
size, this weight should be a little under the standard Wang Mang weight. To
check this weight, 111 ancient cash, all with the inscription, "Half tael," and
dating from Ch'in and Han times, loaned by Dr. A. W. Hummel, were weighed. Four
large cash averaged 96.1 gr. each. The two best medium sized cash averaged 95.7
gr. each. Thirteen medium sized cash averaged 74.8 gr. each. Nine small cash
seemingly in good condition averaged 42.2 gr. each. Eighty-five ordinary small
cash averaged 38.3 gr. each. Since the Han dynasty regularly issued
light-weight cash and permitted private coinage, it is natural that there
should have been large variations in the weight of cash. If we take the weight
of the largest of these cash as being an actual half-tael, as its
inscription says, the ancient tael weighed 192 gr., not far from the weight
found from the To check the volumetric data, the volume of 9600
miliaceum seeds was measured and found to be 81 ml., so that the volume of a yo
would be 10.1 cc., an amount slightly larger than that in the Wang Mang
measure. Laufer ( Stein Using the above data from the Wang Mang standard measure and from the weights, the following table of Han standard measures is obtained:
These measures are
all smaller than present day measures. Wang Kuo-wei (cf. ## Notes1. |

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