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Chinese unit

In measurement, Chinese units (市制 "city standard" pinyin shi4 zhi4) are the units that were used around China in the past. The word "city" (市 pinyin shi4) is added in front of most of the units for distinction between SI units of the same name. For reference, the word "common" (公 pinyin gong1) is added in front of SI units.

The Chinese units were standardized sometime during the last century to make them convert nicely to SI units. Many of the units were formerly 16 based.

Note: The small units 厘 (li) and 分 (fen) have same name for length, area, and mass; however, they refer to different kind of measurements.

Table of contents

Measures of length

  • 1 li (市里) = 150 zhang = 300 bu (this "li" is not the small "li", it has different character and different tone)
  • 1 yin (引) = 10 zhang
  • 1 zhang (市丈) = 10 chi
  • 1 bu (步) = 5 chi
  • 1 chi (市尺) = 10 cun
  • 1 cun (市寸) = 10 fen
  • 1 fen (市分) = 10 li
  • 1 li (市厘)

  • 1 li = 500 metres
  • 1 zhang = 3.3333 metres
  • 1 chi = 33.3333 centimetre
  • 1 cun = 3.3333 centimetre

Measures of area

  • 1 qing (市顷) = 100 mu
  • 1 mu (市亩) = 10 fen = 60 square zhang
  • 1 fen (市分) = 10 li
  • 1 li (市厘)
  • 1 square zhang (方丈) = 100 square chi
  • 1 square chi (方尺) = 100 square cun
  • 1 square cun (方寸)

  • 1 qing = 6.6667 hectares
  • 1 mu = 6.6667 ares
  • 1 li = .6667 square metre

Measures of mass

These units are used to measure mass of objects. However, they are also famous for measuring monetary objects such as gold and silver.

  • 1 dan (市担) = 100 jin
  • 1 jin (市斤) = 10 liang
  • 1 liang (市两) = 10 qian
  • 1 qian (市钱) = 10 fen
  • 1 fen (市分) = 10 li
  • 1 li (市厘)

  • 1 dan = 50 kilograms
  • 1 jin = 500 grams
  • 1 li = 50 milligram

Measures of volume

These units are used to measure grains.

  • 1 dan (市石) = 10 dou
  • 1 dou (市斗) = 10 sheng
  • 1 sheng (市升) = 10 he
  • 1 he (???)

Measures of time

  • 1 shichen (时辰) = 4 ke
  • 1 ke (刻) (Modern "ke" refers to quarter of 1 hour instead of quarter of 1 shichen)

  • 1 shichen (时辰) = 2 hours



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