Pictured is one of twelve 8g gold lunar coins produced between 1981 and 1992. These twelve coins together make up a complete series commemorating the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. The reverse of the coins in the series show pictures of the twelve zodiac animals. Each coin features a painting of the animal linked with that coin’s specific year of production. The obverse of the coins display buildings of cultural value to China. Underneath the image is inscribed the year of production.
This is the 250 yuan Year of the Rooster coin issued in 1981. 1981 was the first year in which lunar coins were produced, and the Year of the Rooster coin was officially issued in January 1981. It is a proof coin with a purity of 91.6% and a diameter of 23mm. It has a mintage of 5,000.
The obverse face shows a picture of the White Pagoda of Beihai Park, an imperial garden in Beijing. The pagoda is a 40m high white stone tower decorated with sun, moon, and flame motifs at the peak of Qionghua Island. Secreted inside the tower is a Buddhist reliquary. Above the image in Chinese characters is inscribed “White Pagoda Beihai Park”, while below the image is inscribed “Beijing” and the year of production, 1981.
The reverse face features a painting entitled “Picture of a Rooster” by Xu Beihong (1895-1953). Xu was renowned for his paintings of horses and birds, and his masterful use of oils and Chinese ink. He studied abroad, learning western artistic techniques, which he brought back to China and integrated into his works, combining traditional Chinese methods with these western techniques. The painting depicts a rooster standing on a rock, its head turned showing its characteristic comb. The denomination, 250 yuan, is inscribed to the left of the image.
The rooster is the tenth animal in the cycle of the Chinese zodiac, and symbolises loyalty and honesty. Those born in the Year of the Rooster are typically seen as being responsible, self-assured, and acute, and are never happier than when given the opportunity to shine in the spotlight.
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