The coin pictured is one of twelve 8g gold lunar coins issued between 1981 and 1992, forming a series featuring the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. The reverse of the coins in the series feature paintings of the twelve zodiac animals, each one showing a painting of the animal associated with that coin’s particular year of issue. The obverse of the coins display pictures of buildings with great cultural value to China. Underneath these images is the year of issue.
This is the 150 yuan Year of the Rabbit coin of the series with a mintage of 5,000. It was issued by the Shenyang mint in 1987. It has a diameter of 23mm and is of proof quality with a fineness of 91.6%.
The obverse face features a picture of Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan by the Yangtze River. The tower was originally built in 223 AD and has been destroyed many times by fire and war. It has been rebuilt numerous times, the latest work being completed in 1985. To the left of the image in Chinese characters is inscribed “Yellow Crane Tower”. Below is the inscription: “The People’s Republic of China” and the year of issue, 1987.
The reverse face shows a rendering of a painting entitled “Picture of a Pair of Hares” by Liu Jiyou (1918-1983), the modern Chinese artist. Inspired by his father, also a painter, Liu Jiyou studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Tianjin, acquiring both western and Chinese artistic techniques, a combination of which would later characterise his works. Two hares or rabbits are shown in the painting, one sitting on all fours, the other standing up on its hind legs looking alert. The denomination, 150 yuan, is inscribed below the picture.
The rabbit is the fourth animal in the Chinese zodiac and is considered to be a sign of luck and good fortune. As a result it is a popular zodiac sign. The rabbit symbolises grace, luck, and elegance. Those born in the Year of the Rabbit are considered to have kind and sensitive personalities and be artistic and creative types.
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