The coin shown is one of twelve 8g gold lunar coins produced between 1981 and 1992, which make a series featuring the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. The reverse of the coins in the series feature renderings of paintings of the twelve zodiac animals, each one featuring a picture of the animal corresponding to that coin’s particular year of production. The obverse of the coins feature images of cultural or historical significance to China, below which is inscribed the year of production.
This is the 150 yuan Year of the Pig coin of the series. It was struck in 1983 at the Shenyang mint. 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 an image of Beijing’s Summer Palace, a vast imperial garden and palace, and a masterpiece of landscape architecture located north-west of the centre of Beijing. To the right of the image in Chinese characters is inscribed “Summer Palace”. Below the image is inscribed “Beijing” and the year of production, 1983.
The reverse face features a painting by Xu Beihong (1895-1953), a famous Chinese artist renowned for his skill in using Chinese ink and oils. His style was characterised by a masterful combination of traditional Chinese techniques and western techniques learned while studying and traveling in western Europe. The painting is entitled “Picture of a Pair of Pigs”, and depicts two pigs standing side by side under a branch. The denomination, 150 yuan, is inscribed below the image.
The pig is the twelfth animal in the cycle of the Chinese zodiac. In Chinese astrology, the pig symbolises honesty, prosperity, and happiness. It is thought that having children in the Year of the Pig will make them particularly happy, possibly due to the well-fed appearance of the pig. Those born in the Year of the Pig are traditionally considered to have caring and tolerant personalities, but can be slightly vulnerable due to their obliging nature.
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