Decorative Chinese black brick as used as tea money.
The front side shows 5 stars above. Chinese Pailou building in the center. China Tea Company (中國茶葉公司). Made in Zhaoliqiao Tea Brick Factory (趙李橋磚茶廠製造)
The reverse shows a 16 pre-cut bar with Chinese Luck knots
Size: 24 x 19 x 2 cm. Weight: almost a kilo.
It has been produced in Zhaoliqiao Town, Hubei Province, China
Tea bricks have been used as a means of currency from the 9th to 20th century in China, Mongolia, Tibet, Central Asia and Russia. The bricks were mainly produced in Sichuan, Hubei and Hunan provinces, southern of China. They were made in various forms and sizes and transported by yaks or camel caravans. Being compact, easy to preserve and to carry, tea bricks are a practical means of payment used even to make trade with people from other regions.
This tea brick in the photo, on its reverse pre-cut like a chocolate bar in sixteen equivalent squares bearing the same curved lines. This procedure makes it easier to cut off the brick into smaller pieces as a form of currency.
Good quality as shown on the pictures.
Chinese Tea Brick Currency Mid of last Century