This coin is one of twelve 8g gold lunar coins issued between 1981 and 1992, together making a series celebrating the twelve creatures of the Chinese zodiac. The reverse of the coins show renderings of paintings of the zodiac animals, each one displaying a picture of the animal of that coin’s particular year of production. The design on the obverse face of the coins is of pictures of culturally valuable buildings and constructions from Chinese history, below which is inscribed the year in which the coin was issued.
The coin shown here is the 150 yuan Year of the Ox coin of the set. Issued in 1985, it was struck at the Shenyang mint and is a proof coin. Similar to other coins in the set, it is 23mm in diameter and has a fineness of 91.6%. It has a mintage of 5,000.
The Marble Boat of Beijing’s Summer Palace is featured on the obverse face of the coin. This lakeside pavilion was originally built in 1755 and comprised a foundation of stone slabs which supported the wooden structure above. The wood was then painted to look like marble. Below the image in Chinese characters is inscribed “Summer Palace Marble Boat” and the year of issue, 1985. Above is the inscription: “The People’s Republic of China”.
The reverse face features a painting by the famous Tang Dynasty (618-907) painter, Han Huang (723-787). He was primarily an official during the Tang Dynasty but also enjoyed music and art, particularly calligraphy and painting. Although not many of his works remain, he is nonetheless well-known for his paintings of oxen, horses, and figures. The painting simply depicts a single bull. The denomination, 150 yuan, is inscribed below the image.
In the Chinese zodiac cycle, the ox holds the second position. It symbolises tenacity, perseverance, and industriousness. Chinese astrology traditionally sees the Year of the Ox as producing people with personalities that are motivated and genuine, as well as being independent and dependable. However, they are known for being somewhat stubborn.
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