This coin is one of nine peacock coins minted in 1993, five of which are gold and four of which are silver. This series of coins features ancient Chinese paintings. This is the 10 yuan, one tenth of an ounce, 99.9% pure, gold brilliant coin issued by the China Mint. It measures 18 millimeters in diameter. On the obverse of this coin is an image of the Imperial City in Beijing. On the reverse, one can see the reproduction of a famous Chinese painting featuring a fanning peacock. Unlike some of the other coins in this series, the planned amount of mintage was not limited.
The obverse shows the largest hall of the Forbidden City, the Hall of Supreme Harmony. The Yongle Emperor was responsible for the construction of the Forbidden City in the early Ming Dynasty, between 1406 and 1420. The City would house China’s emperors from 1420 until 1911, when China’s dynastic history came to a close. The Hall of Supreme Harmony was Yongle’s favored location for meeting with court officials. After the expansion of the court in the Qing Dynasty, the Hall of Supreme Harmony became the location for ceremonies and special occasions, like royal weddings. Above the Hall of Supreme Harmony, one can read the Chinese inscription, “The People’s Republic of China.” Below the Hall is the year of issue, 1993.
The reverse of the coin shows a painting by Guiseppe Castiglione (1688-1766), an Italian missionary who earned his place as an artist in the Imperial court of the Qing dynasty. The painting, “Picture of a Peacock Displaying Tail Feathers,” shows two peacocks, one with his bright fan of feathers proudly displayed, and the other in the foreground, more subdued. They are surrounded by natural scenery of flowers and trees. Above the fanning peacock is the denomination of the coin, 10 yuan. Below are the specifications of the coin: “1/10 Oz Au, .999.”
Castiglione came to live in China in the year of 1715. He took the name Lang Shining, and he was highly revered by the Emperor Qianlong. Castiglione was even commissioned to paint the emperor and empress, though he favored scenes of nature and animal life above all other subjects. Castiglione adopted some Chinese technique and combined these ideas with his background in European painting.