This coin is one of the lunar coins honoring the Year of the Horse. These zodiac coins were authorized for release by the Peopleís Bank of China between the years of 1988 and 1999. In 1990, the Year of the Horse, coins were released featuring the horse on the reverse and the National Emblem of China on the obverse. This coin is the 99.9% pure, silver, one ounce coin with the legal tender face value of 10 yuan. In all, 12,000 of these coins were released by the China Mint in 1990.
The obverse of the coin, as stated above, shows the National Emblem of China. Below the Emblem are printed the characters that translate to, The People’s Republic of China, and the year of minting, 1990. The National Emblem of China has been in use since the end of the Chinese Revolution in 1950. The symbol gives homage to ancient Chinese culture with the image of the Gate of Heavenly Peace, the main entrance to the Forbidden City. Encircling the gate are bunches of wheat and rice, the symbolic fuel of the Chinese Revolution. Above the gate are five stars, the largest of which represents the Communist Party. The other four stars represent the class system of China, as outlined by Mao himself. The stars above the Tiananmen Gate refer to the Communist Party’s dominance over the Nationalist Party.
On the reverse face, ìPicture of Tang Horse, painted by Zhang Daqian (1899-1983) is memorialized. Zhang was a well-known forger as well as a very well respected artist. The painting shows a horse, saddled for a rider, galloping across the face of the coin. One can see the detail that Zhang was famous for displayed in the artist’s reproduction of this painting. To the right of the horse’s front hooves, one can see the denomination of the coin, 10 yuan. At the very bottom edge of the coin, one can read the specifications of the coin: ‘one ounce pure silver, .999 Ag.’
The horse is a symbol of liberation, which is a strong juxtaposition with the reverse of the coin, which gives reference to the liberation of China. This is a very well-loved creature in the Chinese zodiac. People born in this year are said to be smart and have potential for great success. Because of the natural power of the horse, this symbol is associated with both strength and freedom. Though those from this year are quick-witted and extroverted, they may also be stubborn and self-involved.
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