Year of the Dog, Silver, One Ounce, 10 Yuan Coin, 8,000 mintage
This is one of the lunar coins created by the Shanghai Mint between the years of 1988 and 1999, a full lunar cycle of twelve years. This coin was authorized for distribution in 1994, and features the dog. It is a one ounce, pure, silver coin, .999 in fineness, and bears the legal tender value of 10 yuan. In total, 8,000 of these particular coins were released in 1994, the year of the dog.
On the obverse face is the Emblem of China, bearing three symbols of the Chinese revolution and established government. The center symbol is the Tiananmen Gate, the Gate of Heavenly Peace. This was one of the entrances to the Imperial City during the reign of emperors. The gate is encompassed by thickets of rice and wheat, the resources that aided the revolution in moving forward. Above the gate, inside the circle of grains, are five stars. The large center star represents the Chinese Communist Party, while the other four stars are the classes that make up the workers of China – the proletariat, the small business owners, the field workers and the capitalists. These classes were outlined in Mao’s “Bloc of Four Social Classes.” Below the Emblem are the characters which translate to “The People’s Republic of China.” Below these characters is the date of issue, 1994.
The reverse face of the coin gives homage to the animal associated with the year, 1994. This animal is the dog. The coin also gives recognition to the noted artist Liu Kuiling (1885-1968). Kiuling grew up in the countryside, which inspired his love of painting still life, nature, and animals. Like other noted Chinese artists of the twentieth century, Kiuling incorporated Western artistic elements like perspective with traditional Chinese detailing. This painting, “Picture of a Pair of Dogs,” shows two Pekingese dogs, lapdogs that were extremely popular in the Imperial City itself. One dog stands in the background, sniffing, and one dog stands in the foreground, its fluffy tail facing the viewer. The face value, ten yuan, is directly below the two dogs. Above the dogs, one can see the description of the coin’s metal: “contains one ounce pure silver, .999 Ag.” The artist who rendered the painting on the coin did an excellent job of capturing both Liu’s penchant for perspective and his eye for detail.
In Chinese culture, the dog is known as a symbol of loyalty. Like the animal with which they are associated, people born in the Year of the Dog are said to be unpretentious, compassionate, kind and straightforward. They may also have the potentially negative attributes of being sarcastic, cynical and too laid back. However, those born in the Year of the Dog will do anything to help those that they love, and they tend to love and forgive easily.
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