This is the 15 gram, 85% pure, silver rooster coin minted by the People’s Bank of China in 1981. This is the first in a series of lunar coins honoring the Chinese Zodiac, which were produced by the Shanghai Mint from 1981 to 1992. The series begins with the rooster and culminates with the 1992 Monkey. The reverse face of each of these coins depicts one of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac, while the obverse fare displays architectural works important in Chinese history. Underneath each of these images on the obverse face is the year of minting.
Pictured is the very first in the series, the 1981 rooster. This coin bears the denomination of 30 yuan, imprinted to the left of the rooster on the reverse face. The coin is of proof quality, giving the background a mirrored finish and the embellishments more of a matte quality. In 1981, 10,000 of these coins were minted.
On the obverse face, one can see the White Pagoda of Beihai Park, one of the emperor’s gardens of Beijing. The pagoda is a famous work of architecture in Beijing, as it stands at the top of Qionghua Island and can be seen for miles around the city. Inside of the pagoda, or Dagoba, is a Buddhist reliquary. The top, or crown, of the pagoda is decorated with sun, moon and fire, representing the power of the Buddha, which is said to be as bright as the sun and moon. Above this image is Chinese lettering translating to, “White Dagoba of Beihai Park.” Below this image, one can see the characters for “Beijing” and the year of issue, 1981.
On the opposing face of the coin is the rendering of Xu Beihong’s painting, “Picture of a Rooster.” Xu was an artist who lived in China from 1895 to 1953. Like many of his contemporaries, he was interested in Western art and incorporated the use of perspective into his works. He combined this with the Chinese technique of detailing. This painting shows a rooster atop a rocky patch of ground, proudly displaying his comb and colorful tail feathers. Xu was one of the forefathers of modern artistic style in China, and the influence of his work is still seen today.
Those born in the year of the rooster are said to enjoy being the center of attention. They are honest and forthright, sometimes to the point of being blunt and offending others. Roosters always expect others to listen and watch them, and often tend to brag about themselves. People born in this year may become great actors, dancers or singers, so that they can proudly display their talents before a wide audience.
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