A bronze measuring plate thought to date from the early Western Han dynasty (206BC-25AD) has been unearthed in Gucheng village in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
The bronze plate, 35.5 cm in diameter at the top, 17 cm in diameter at its base and 16 cm tall, was a measuring tool with a standard volume of 10,000 ml.
According to an inscription on the utensil, the plate was used in a market close to a temporary imperial palace.
Experts say that it is rare in China's archaeological history to unearth such an ancient and intact measuring tool.
They surmised that the bronze plate was installed at the market by the then local government for supervising those merchants who gave short measures to consumers.
(Xinhua News Agency June 17, 2002)