Pictured above is a set of silver coins produced in 1990 that honors Chinese Unearthed Artifacts. Each of the coins in this set weighs 15 grams and is produced of 90% silver. All of the coins are proof in quality. The obverse face of each of these coins shows the PRC emblem, or Chinese National Emblem, which has been in use since 1950. Below the symbol, one can see the lettering translating to, “Chinese Bronze Aged Finds,” and the year of release, 1990. The reverse face of each coin shows an important discovery or technological invention of the Bronze Age in China. The estimated discovery date is imprinted at the top of the reverse face, while the denomination, 5 yuan, is printed below the embossed image of each discovery. All of the coins are 33 millimeters in diameter. In all, 5,000 pieces of each of these designs were authorized for release in 1990.
On the first coin pictured, one can see the Elephant Vessel, an artifact that dates back to the Shang and Zhou Dynasties (15th – 11th Century BC). The Elephant Vessel was created to transport and pour fine wine; it was typically used during important occasions or ceremonies. The vessel is approximately 26.5 centimeters in height. It is one of the most famous objects from this era, due to its beautiful and complex appearance. It is decorated with images of eleven different beasts, both real and mythological.
The second coin shows the Spotted Leopard, a decorative statue that dates from the Western Han Dynasty (4th – 2nd Century BC). The Leopard, diminutive in size, is thought to be purely decorative. The statue has jewels for eyes, and on its body, gold and silver spots are inlaid. On the following coin, one can see the Winged Beast, a creature reminiscent of a dragon. The Winged Beast is also a decorative artifact that dates back to the Western Han Dynasty.
The Rhino Vessel appears on the fourth coin. This vessel is dated to the Warring States Period (475 − 221 BC). The Rhino Vessel is thought to be based on the Sumatran Rhino. It is 34.2 centimeters in height and 58.1 centimeters in length. It is covered in cloud-like decorations, and it is accented with delicate silver thread. This object was thought to be used as a ceremonial vessel for bearing wine.