The coin pictured is one of twelve 8g gold lunar coins produced over twelve years between 1981 and 1992. They make a series commemorating the animals of the Chinese zodiac. The reverse of the coins in the series show works of art by famous Chinese artists depicting the twelve zodiac animals, each one displaying a picture of the animal corresponding to that coin’s particular year of production. The obverse of the coins show pictures of architecture with historical importance in China, below which is inscribed the year of production.
Issued in 1986, this is the 150 yuan Year of the Tiger coin. It was struck at the Shenyang mint and is of proof quality. It has a mintage of 5,000 and is of 91.6% purity. The coin, like all the others in the series, has a diameter of 23mm.
The image struck on the obverse face is of the Forbidden City or Imperial Palace of Beijing. Built between 1406 and 1420, the Forbidden City was the centre of imperial power and the home of the emperors from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). Below the image in Chinese characters is inscribed “Forbidden City” and the year of production, 1986. Above is the inscription: “The People’s Republic of China”.
The reverse face shows a rendering of a painting by He Xiangning (1878-1972). A modern female revolutionary seeking to overthrown the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), she was also skilled at traditional Chinese painting. She studied art in Tokyo, Japan. The painting is entitled “Picture of Fierce Tiger” and shows a tiger stood stretching out, one paw raised and roaring. The denomination, 150 yuan, is inscribed above and to the left of the design.
The tiger occupies the third position in the cyclical order of the Chinese zodiac. Unlike in western culture, Chinese astrologers consider the tiger to be king of the beasts. It is a sign of power, courage, competitiveness, and spontaneity. The Chinese traditionally believe those born in the Year of the Tiger to be brave, impulsive, charming, and generous.
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