People began to worship heaven, the Buddha, and the immortals by means of memorials and ceremonies, prayers, sorcery, divination and eulogy.While it is not known for sure when "good luck" charms first appeared in China, their precursors can be traced back to at least the 7th - 4th century BC.This led to religious belief and a reverence for spirits.This was also a time when there began a separation between manual labor and intellectual labor resulting in, for example, diviners who could divine the ominous, auspicious, calamity and happiness for the tribal chiefs, as well as shamans who could drive away the evil spirits and cure diseases.They are filled with symbolism and are believed by the multitude of Chinese to have vast powers.The Chinese also produced other "coin-like" pieces such as "horse coins" (马钱), depicting famous historical horses, which were used for games and as gambling tokens.
Although subsequent dynasties time and again attempted to prohibit the private issuance of money, private coinage still took place.
For these reasons, people wished that their lives would be happy, long-lasting, and wealthy with many sons and grandsons.
After death, they hoped to quickly ascend to the world of the immortals or reincarnate as a person.
Many of these coins have "auspicious symbols" including stars and star constellations, the moon, the sun, swords, auspicious animals such as the turtle and snake, etc.
One such example of this type of auspicious coin has swastikas both above and below the square hole as is shown here.
The primary purpose of the private coinage was, of course, to make a profit.