The coin shown is one of twelve which make up a complete 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 (with the exception of the Year of the Dragon coin which shows an image of the Temple of Heaven) is a rendering of the National Emblem of China. The year of issue is inscribed at the bottom of the obverse face.
This coin is the 1995 Year of the Pig coin of the set. It is a proof coin of 99.9% purity with a diameter of 32mm. It has a mintage of 1,800.
The obverse face features a picture of the National Emblem of China. The emblem has been used since the PRC was established in 1950 and is a rich source of imagery for the Communist revolution. It shows an image of Tiananmen Gate, the entrance to the Imperial Palace in Beijing, above which are five stars. One large star stands for the Communist Party of China. The four smaller stars surrounding it represent the four Maoist social classes. Sheaves of wheat and rice surround the image, representing Mao’s agricultural revolution.
The reverse features a rendering of a painting by the famous Chinese artist Huang Zhou (1925-1997). A dedicated and versatile artist, he painted a whole variety of subjects, from animals to people to landscapes. The painting featured on the reverse depicts a single pig and is called simply, “Picture of a Pig”. The denomination, 100 yuan, is inscribed to the right of the image. The top edge of the reverse face bears an inscription in Chinese characters giving details of the metallic properties of the coin. It reads: “Contains 1 oz pure gold purity .999 1 oz Au”.
The pig symbolises virility and fertility in Chinese culture, and as a result the Year of the Pig is deemed a fortuitous year in which to have children. It is said that children born in the Year of the Pig will be happy and prosperous. This belief is founded in the reputation of the pig as being a well-fed and fat animal. Those born in the Year of the Pig are considered to have caring, tolerant, and honest personality traits.
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