Over a period of twelve years starting in 1981 finishing in 1992 a series of 8g gold lunar coins was struck by the Shenyang mint commemorating the animals of the Chinese zodiac. The above coin is the 1990 Year of the Horse coin from the series and has a denomination of 150 yuan. Its reverse face features a painting by the famous Chinese artist Xu Beihong (1895-1953) entitled “Galloping Horse”. The design on its obverse face is an image of the Hall of Great Achievement of the Temple of Confucius at Qufu.
The Hall of Great Achievement is the centre of the Temple of Confucius today which stands in Qufu in Shandong Province. The hall was the main location for offering sacrifices and prayers to the memory of Confucius, the great sage and founder of the school of Confucianism. The temple was constructed in 479 BC, a year after the death of Confucius.
Xu Beihong was a highly influential Chinese artist known particularly for his paintings of horses and birds. He was highly skilled in the use of Chinese ink and oils. Like many early 20th Century Chinese artists, he combined traditional Chinese methods with newly learned western techniques of perspective and form to create his own distinctive style.
The painting featured on the reverse shows a horse galloping towards the viewer at great speed through long grass. The denomination is inscribed left of the picture.
The coin, struck at the Shenyang mint, has a mintage of 7,500 and is of proof quality. It has a fineness of 91.6% and is 23mm in diameter.
In Chinese astrology, the horse symbolises freedom, intelligence, and independence. It is seventh in the cycle of the twelve animals. The horse is a popular sign in the Chinese zodiac, as people whose birth falls in the Year of the Horse are typically seen as independent, creative, and optimistic.
We are available to assist you with any questions on this or other Chinese coins. Our unique expertise and experience in Chinese numismatics covers modern, imperial, republic and circulating coins. We pride ourselves in servicing our clientele to work in building special collections or locate key date coins with help from our global network and have done so since 2004. In addition, we are frequently top bidders on coins and collections when looking to divest.