liǎng [Chinese.or]

See also: tael.

In China, 3rd century bce–20th century, a unit of mass. It is currently a part of the metrified shi zhi system, 10 liǎng = 1 jin, 1 liǎng = 50 grams. Slightly earlier, in the People's Republic of China, 20th century, 31.2 grams, while on Taiwan, 1 liǎng = 10 ch'ien = 37.5 grams (about 1.32 ounces).

16 liǎng = 1 chin, about 1¹/₃ oz. Also romanized as leang.

As a silver weight, = ¹⁄₁₆th catty = 10 tchen (mass or mace) = 100 fen (condorines) = 1000 li (caches). The names in parentheses were employed by European traders at Canton in the 19th century.

In commerce, 19th century, a slightly different value was used = 1.2 ounces avoirdupois = ¹⁄₁₆th of the commercial catty, about 37.80 grams.¹

When liǎng occurs before measure words, or before bàn ( 'half'), qiān ( 'thousand'), wàn ( 'ten thousand'), or (亿 'a hundred million'), it means two.

Some Historical Values
Dynasty Dates Value of liǎng
in grams
(Wu Ch'eng-lo)
Chou 1121–220 bce 14.93
Qin 349–205 bce 16.14
Former Han 205 bce–8 ce 16.14
Hsin Mang 9–24 ce 13.92
Later Han 25–220 13.92
Wei 220–265 13.92
Western Tsin 265–273 13.92
Western Tsin 274–316 13.92
Eastern Tsin 317–430 13.92
Former Chao 318–319
Liu-Sung 420–478
South Ch'i 479–501 20.88
Liang & Chen 502–588 13.92
Later Wei & West Wei 386–557 13.92
Later Wei & East Wei 495–550
North Ch'i 550–557 27.84
North Chou 557–566
North Chou 566–581 15.66
Sui 581–606 41.76
Sui 607–618 13.92
Tang 618–906 37.30
Five Dynasties 907–960 37.30
Song 960–1279 37.30
Yuan 1279–1368 37.30
Ming 1368–1644 37.30
Qing 1644–1911 37.30

Wu Ch'eng-lo.
Chung-kuo tu liang heng shih. (History of Chinese Weights and Measures)
Shanghai, 1937.

1. Doursther (1840) page 511.

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