This coin design is one of the twelve that honor the Chinese Zodiac. This particular coin was minted in 1992, the Year of the Monkey, and it features the monkey itself on the reverse. On the obverse appears the National Emblem of China. This is a one ounce, pure, platinum coin, .9995 in fineness. It bears the face value of 100 yuan, shown to the left of the monkey painting featured on the reverse of the coin.
Coins honoring the Chinese Zodiac were authorized for release between 1988 and 1999. Each of these coins shows the same image on the obverse save for the dragon coin produced in 1988. In all, 300 of these platinum monkey coins were produced. The Emblem of China, displayed on the obverse face of the coin, is a circle of wheat and rice encompassing the Tiananmen Gate and the five stars that represent the people of China. The wheat and rice refer to the agricultural nature of Mao’s revolution. The center star stands for the the Communist Party, while the four surrounding stars are Mao’s four classes of China (the proletariat, the bourgeoisie, the peasants and the capitalists). The Gate of Heavenly Peace is the ancient symbol of Imperial China. As it is visually dominated by symbols of the revolution, it is clear to see what the Emblem of China honors most of all. “Picture of a Monkey” by Liu Jiyou graces the reverse face. Liu lived from 1918 to 1983, and like many of his contemporaries, he used both Chinese and Western techniques in his paintings. One can Liu’s focus on movement and perspective in the representation of the monkey. Liu’s father was also a famous artist, specializing in painting animals and plants.
“Picture of a Monkey” shows a monkey atop a tree branch, glancing over his shoulder. To the left of the image, one can see the face value of the coin, 100 yuan. The top edge of the coin specifies the metallurgic properties of the coin, “contains one ounce platinum purity, .9995 Pt.” The monkey, in Chinese culture, is known to be a fast-thinking, curious and bright animal. It is also considered to be the most open-minded and free-thinking of the animals in the Chinese zodiac. It is said that people born in this year are highly inventive and sharp, though they may also be duplicitous.
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