This is the 1990 Year of the Horse lunar coin from the series of twelve 15 gram silver coins. Each of these coins features a creature of the Chinese Zodiac on the reverse face. On each obverse face appears an architectural accomplishment of historical, cultural or religious significance in China. This series of coins began in 1981 and culminated in 1992. Each of the coins was released with a blue carrying box and information about the coin.
This coin is 90% pure silver and is of proof quality. The coin’s denomination is 10 yuan. In all, 15,000 of these Year of the Horse coins were released by the Shenyang Mint in 1990. This coin features a painting, “Galloping Horse,” by Xu Beihong on the reverse face and The Great Hall of Achievement on the obverse.
“Galloping Horse,” depicts a carefree horse, unsaddled and unbridled, galloping across the reverse face of the coin. The horse’s mane and tail fly in the wind, representing its desire for freedom and liberation. To its left is the denomination of the coin. Xu Beihong was a particularly important Chinese artist of the twentieth century. He combined Western techniques like perspective and broad brushstrokes with Chinese techniques like using specific brushes for specific types of paintings. Xu created his own style, and influenced many of his contemporaries.
Like the galloping animal in Xu’s painting, the horse is a great symbol of freedom in Chinese culture. Those born in this year may be adventurous and bold like the tiger, but also strongly independent and reserved. Sometimes perceived as overly isolated, horses may run wild in order to escape being tied down.
The Hall of Great Achievement, or Dacheng Hall, located in the city of Qufu in Shandong Province, is a memorial to honor Confucius. This temple was originally constructed in 479 BC after the death of Confucius. The Duke Ai commanded that it be built in Confucius’ hometown, which corresponds to the modern city of Qufu. The temple has been expanded over the past 2000 years, and many still go there to honor the life and teachings of Confucius.
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