The coin displayed is one of twelve 8g gold lunar coins struck over twelve years between 1981 and 1992. They form a set featuring the twelve creatures which make up the Chinese zodiac. The reverse of the coins of the set display pictures of these twelve zodiac animals, each depicting the creature that corresponds to that coin’s specific year of issue. The obverse face of the coins show images of impressive Chinese architecture. Below this image is the year of issue.
This is the 200 yuan Year of the Dog coin of the set and was issued in 1982. This is a proof coin, has a fineness of 91.6%, and is 23mm in diameter. Its mintage is 5,000.
The obverse features a picture of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests at the Temple of Heaven near Beijing. The Temple of Heaven was where the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1912) dynasty emperors would go at the winter solstice to pray to Heaven for a good harvest. To the left of the picture is inscribed in Chinese: “Temple of Heaven”, while underneath the picture the coin face bears the inscription “Beijing” and the year of issue, 1982.
The reverse face shows a rendering of a painting by the Chinese artist Liu Jiyou (1918-1983) called “Picture of a Standing Dog”. Liu was inspired by his father, a well-known floral and animal painter. He studied both traditional Chinese and western artistic techniques at Tianjin’s Academy of Fine Arts, developing a style characterised by a combination of both sets of techniques. The painting shows a dog standing with its tail raised turning its head over its left shoulder. The denomination, 200 yuan, is inscribed below the image.
In the Chinese zodiac, the dog occupies the eleventh place in the cyclical order. It is a symbol of compassion and loyalty. Traditionally seen as honest and unpretentious individuals, people born in the Year of the Dog are believed to have strong morals, sensitive personalities, and are easy to get along with.
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