Mace (unit)

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Chinese name
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabet tiền
Chữ Hán
Korean name
Mongolian name
Mongolian цэн
Japanese name
Hiragana せん
Malay name
Malay mas
Indonesian name
Indonesian mas
Buryat name
Buryat сэн

A mace (Chinese: ; pinyin: qián; Hong Kong English usage: tsin;[1] Southeast Asian English usage: chee[2]) is a traditional Chinese measurement of weight in East Asia that was also used as a currency denomination. It is equal to 10 candareens and is 110 of a tael or approximately 3.78 grams. A troy mace is approximately 3.7429 grams. In Hong Kong, one mace is 3.779936375 grams.[1] and in Ordinance 22 of 1884, it is 215 ounces avoirdupois. In Singapore, one mace (referred to as chee) is 3.77994 grams.[3]

In imperial China, 10 candareens equaled 1 mace which was 110 of a tael and, like the other units, was used in weight-denominated silver currency system. A common denomination was 7 mace and 2 candareens, equal to one silver Chinese yuan.


Like other similar measures such as tael and catty, the English word "mace" derives from Malay, in this case through Dutch maes, plural masen, from Malay mas which, in turn, derived from Sanskrit māṣa, a word related to "mash," another name for the urad bean, and masha, a traditional Indian unit of weight equal to 0.97 gram.[4] This word is unrelated to other uses of mace in English.

The Chinese word for mace is qian (Chinese: ; pinyin: qián), which is also a generic word for "money" in Mandarin Chinese. (The same Chinese character (kanji) was used for the Japanese sen, the former unit equal to 1100 of a Japanese yen and for the Vietnamese tiền, a currency used in late imperial Vietnam, although neither of these has ever been known as "mace" in English.)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Weights and Measures Ordinance". The Law of Hong Kong. 
  2. ^ "Weights and Measures" in The Miners' Pocket-book.
  3. ^ "Weights and Measures Act (CHAPTER 349) Third Schedule". Singapore Statutes. 
  4. ^ "Mace ". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)