According to our favorite web site on Chinese coins and charms, PrimalTrek.com, 'Through observation, ancient Chinese astronomers calculated the orbit of Jupiter to be approximately 12 years and, therefore, divided the celestial circle into 12 parts. This time system was gradually applied to the Earth year with one Earthly Branch associated with each month of the year. By the time of the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BCE), the Earthly Branches had already become linked to the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. These animals are the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Boar (Pig).'
The zodiac easily finds its way onto many Chinese charms. These charms have been manufactured from ancient times to the present. Their value depends on their age. Modern charms are relatively inexpensive. Ancient charms can be quite valuable to collectors, especially when in good condition.
The charm submitted by requester Ash comes from the Sung Dynasty (960 to 1279AD). It sold for $200 US dollars during a 2012 auction by Jean Elsen & ses Fils. However, there are many others. Our secondary picture to the right shows several examples.
ANCIENT ZODIAC CHARMS
worn: $30 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $120
well preserved: $250
MODERN ZODIAC CHARMS