Between 1993 and 2004, the Shenyang Mint, released a series of lunar coins to honor the Chinese New Year. Each of these coins features the animal that corresponds to the year of release. This coin is the 1995 Year of the Pig coin, featuring a painting of a pig on the reverse face and the Wan Fu Pavilion on the obverse face. The coins of this series are all struck of 99.9% silver and were created in a flower, or scalloped shape. This coin weighs 2/3 of an ounce, measures 36 millimeters in diameter and bears the face value of 10 yuan. In all, 6800 of these Year of the Pig coins were produced in 1995. The coins are all proof in quality, meaning that they were each struck multiple times.
The obverse face of this coin bears a rendering of the Wan Fu Pavilion of the Palace of Peace and Harmony in Beijing. This Pavilion was constructed in 1694 and is one of the main halls at the Palace of Peace and Harmony. This Palace is one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist lamaseries in the world. The architectural style employed in the construction of the buildings here are a result of combining traditional Han style with Tibetan style. Below the image of the Pavilion is the year of issue, 1995. Above it is the inscription, “The People’s Republic of China.”
The pig, a symbol of honesty and happiness, is honored on the reverse face of the coin. Huang Zhou’s (1925-1997) painting, “Picture of a Pair of Pigs,” is rendered here, showing two pigs frolicking happily underneath the shade of a tree branch. Huang’s work was heavily influenced by the art of the Tajik minority who still inhabit the northwestern regions of China. Huang was posted here with the People’s Liberation Army and became involved with the Tajik culture while there. On the bottom left of the coin, one can read the face value of the coin, 10 yuan.
In Chinese culture, those born in the year of the pig are seen as kind, happy and hardworking. This concept arises perhaps from the rotund and unassuming appearance of the pig. The Year of the Pig is considered especially fortuitous for birthing a child, as the pig is also an emblem of fertility and virility.
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