The coin pictured is one of twelve which make up a set of 100 yuan 1 oz gold lunar coins produced between 1988 and 1999. The reverse face of the coins in the set feature paintings of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. The obverse of the coins bear the inscription in Chinese characters: “The People’s Republic of China”. Above the inscription on all coins in the set (except the Year of the Dragon coin which features an image of the Temple of Heaven) is an image of the National Emblem of China. The year of issue is inscribed at the bottom of the obverse face.
The coin pictured is the 1991 Year of the Goat coin of the set. It is a proof coin of 99.9% purity with a diameter of 32mm. It has a mintage of 1,900.
The obverse face shows an image of the National Emblem of China which features an image of Tiananmen Gate with one large and four small stars above it. Rings of wheat sheaves and rice surround the image. Tiananmen Gate is the main entrance to the Forbidden City in the heart of Beijing. The large star stands for the Communist Party of China, while the four smaller ones represent the four social classes as defined in Maoist philosophy. The sheaves of wheat and rice reflect the nature of the Maoist revolution, drawing support from and mobilising agricultural workers.
The reverse features a rendering of a part of the painting entitled “Picture of Four Goats” by Chen Juzhong, a court painter in Nanjing during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). He specialised in pictures of figures and horses. While the rendering of the painting shows only three goats rutting and playing together, the original painting actually shows a fourth off to one side. The painting is one of Chen Juzhong’s representative works. The denomination, 100 yuan, is inscribed below the image. The top edge of the reverse face bears an inscription in Chinese characters pertaining to the specifications of the coin. It reads: “Contains 1 oz pure gold purity .999 1 oz Au”.
The goat is seen in Chinese culture as having a caring feminine nature. People born in the Year of the Goat are seen as creative artistic types, peaceful and generous in nature, but tending to be shy.
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