The coin pictured pays homage to the Year of the Horse, 1990. This is one of the coin designs released by the People’s Bank of China between 1988 and 1999, featuring the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. On the obverse of each of these coins, save the coin for the Year of the Dragon, one can see the National Emblem of China, which has been in use since 1950. On the reverse, one can see each of the animals of the zodiac. For 1990, one can see a rendering of a horse.
This coin is a one ounce, pure, platinum coin. It contains 99.95% pure platinum. These specifications are pictured at the bottom edge of the reverse face of the coin. In total, 2,000 of these coins were authorized for export in that year. Each of these coins bears the legal tender face value of 100 yuan.
The National Emblem of China, as shown on the obverse, features the Tiananmen Gate, or Gate of Heavenly Peace, the entrance to the old Forbidden City. Circling the gate are several collections of wheat and rice. Wheat and rice were the crops that supported the uprising against the Nationalist Party. Above the gate are five stars, one representing the Communist Party, and the others representing the four social classes in China. The bottom of the coin shows the characters signifying, “The People’s Republic of China,” and the year of release, 1990.
“Picture of Tang Horse,” by Zhang Daqian appears on the opposing side of the coin. Zhang lived from 1899 to 1983, and was well known in China as a traditional Chinese artist. He was also a master forger. The rendering of his painting shows a horse, saddled and prepared for a rider, raising his legs as if to gallop. Zhang’s talent for detail shows in the artist’s reproduction of his painting. This side of the coin shows the legal tender face value of the coin, 100 yuan. This appears just to the right of the horse’s front hooves.
In Chinese culture, horses symbolize freedom and joy. As such, this is a very popular creature in China, and is also a very popular lunar sign. Those whose birthdays fall in this year are said to be very lucky and possess the potential for unlimited power and success. Horses are also associated with strength and grace. Personality traits associated with this year are intelligence, gregariousness and a talent for winning others’ over. The potential downside to a horse is that he or she may also be obdurate or self-centered.
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