Above is one of the coins from a set honoring the animals of the Chinese Zodiac on the reverse face and great works of architecture on the obverse face. These coins were minted between 1988 and 1992. This coin is the 1988 coin honoring the Year of the Dragon on the reverse and the Great Wall of China on the obverse face. It is a 90% pure, silver 15 gram coin with the legal tender face value of 10 yuan. In all 15,000 of these coins were minted in 1988.
On the reverse face of the coin, one can see the replica of a painting of a dragon. The dragon, as in many traditional Chinese works, is pictured in a vicious coil above a swirling sea. The dragon opens its mouth, as if in a roar. This is only half of a larger piece of art showing two dragons above an ocean. In the original painting, one dragon is painted in white, and the other in green. The face value, 10 yuan, appears below the water depicted in the image.
The dragon is the only mystical animal in the Chinese Zodiac. It is one of the most powerful and revered symbols in Chinese culture, and an especially popular sign of the Zodiac. It is also one of the four Guardians of Heaven, along with the phoenix, the tortoise and the tiger or qilin. The dragon is a very fortuitous sign in Chinese culture. Dragons are thought to be powerful leaders who possess charisma, intellectuality and ambition. Those born under this sign live under their own rules and are very independent.
On the obverse face is a memorial to the Great Wall of China. The Great Wall, one of the great wonders of the world, stretches more than 10,000 miles across the face of China. The wall itself was built in many branches, and over many centuries, ranging from the 7th century BC to the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The Great Wall, as it was completed in the Ming Dynasty, led the Chinese to overpower the Mongolian tribes. “The People’s Republic of China” is inscribed above the Wall, and below it appears the year of minting, 1988.
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