In 1994, the Year of the Dog, a 99.9% pure, plum blossom-shaped silver coin, weighing 2/3 of an ounce, was produced to commemorate the Chinese New Year. This coin is one in a series of lunar coins minted from 1993 to 2004. Each of these coins displays a rendering of the animal that corresponds to its year of release; these renderings are taken from famous Chinese paintings, save for the coins produced in 2003 and 2004. In all, 6800 of these coins were released in 1994.
This coin bears the face value of 10 yuan and measures 36 millimeters in diameter. It was struck at the Shenyang Mint, like the other coins in the series. It is of proof quality, giving the background of the coin a mirrored finish and the embellishments on its surface a three dimensional quality.
On the obverse face, one can see the Phoneix Tower, a feature of the Imperial Palace of Shenyang. This Tower, along with the rest of the palace, was built in 1625. Above the tower, one can see the inscription, “The People’s Republic of China.” The year of production, 1994, can be seen at the bottom edge of the obverse face of the coin.
Guissepe Castiglione, who went by the Chinese name Lang Shining, created the image of the dog shown on the reverse face of the coin. Castiglione was an Italian missionary with a flair for the artistic who traveled to China to spread the word of the Jesuits in 1715. Perhaps proving that he fell more in love with China than with his original mission, he named himself Lang Shining and earned himself a place as a court painter for the Qing Dynasty. He was especially fond of painting animals but also was commissioned to paint the Emperor and Empress. This particular image shows a dog standing under a tree, looking up cheerfully, its tail wagging. The face value, 10 yuan, is to the left of the dog.
The dog is the most loyal and dependable sign of the Chinese Zodiac. The dog, although a worrier, is a loyal, honest and kind friend. Like the animal, those born in this year are said to be honest and sympathetic. These people are considered to be laid back, relaxed and extremely reliable in tough situations. They can also be seen as overly sensitive and occasionally overly easygoing.
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