Updated: Jun 1
Cowrie shells appear as items of value and ceremony in the far western inland of China during the Neolithic era. Use became widespread during the Shang (c. 1766-1154 BC) and Zhou Dynasties and ended with the rise of bronze money in the Qin and Han Dynasties. The area where they were was used was almost exclusively to the north of the Yangtze River, with few discoveries south.
There are inscriptions referencing cowries and they have been discovered in large quantities (thousands) in tombs. Cowries were imitated in bone, jade and bronze. Two species are most commonly found: Monetaria annulus (Cypraea annulus) and Monetaria moneta (Cypraea moneta).
Here are a few ancient cowrie from China listed by David Harthill as 1.1 "cowrie shell with back filed off".
Harthill, D (2017), Chinese Cast Coins, Second Edition, New Generation Publishing
Peng, K (1995), New Research on the Origin of Cowries in Ancient China