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In ancient received texts such as the Shījīng, the Yìjīng, and others, the primary attested meaning of liǎng 兩 is 'two'. This is specifically in reference to paired sets of things, not just any two things taken together. In the Hàn the word begins to appear regularly as a general word for "two" or "a couple of". As a measure word, it is used in ancient ...


Great question! 两 is unit of two-horse carriage in the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 - c. 1046 BCE),I think it's around this time that 两 replaced 二. 驷(or 乘) is unit of four-horse carriage in the Zhou Dynasty. 二 can be numeral(two) and ordinal numeral(second). 两 can be numeral(two) and unit of weight.

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