From 1988 to 1999, the China Mint authorized a series of coins in platinum, silver, and gold, to be produced. These coins honor the Chinese Zodiac, and each coin design features the animal of that year. In 1996, the Year of the Rat, the coins feature the rat on one side and the National Emblem of China on the other side. All of the renderings featured on these coins were created by Chinese artists.
This coin, created in 1996, is a lunar coin that honors The Year of the Rat, 1996. This is one of a set of coins created by he China Mint from the years of 1988 and 1999. Each of the coins feature The National Emblem of China on the obverse face, except for the dragon coin created in 1988, which features the Temple of Heaven. The reverse face of each of these coins shows one of the anima;s of the Chinese Zodiac. This particular coin, a one ounce pure silver coin with the legal tender face value of ten yuan, features a famous painting of a rat, to pay homage to the Year of the Rat, 1996. The coin is of proof quality and is .999 in fineness.In all, 8,100 of these coins were authorized for release by the China Mint in 1996. The reverse face of this coin shows a famous painting of a rat, gazing up at an oil lamp. The rat sits perched on his hind paws and points his nose towards the lamp, which sits in the foreground. Below the rat and the lamp, one can see the denomination of the coin, ten yuan. Above the rat, one can see the specifications of the coin, “.999 Ag., contains one ounce of pure silver.” The artist that originally created this painting, “Old Rat with an Oil Lamp,” Qi Baishi (1864-1957) was known for his use of watercolor. He was also known as an artist who did not employ Western technique, as was popular in art of the time. Qi was talented at natural drawings and paintings, and employed a great deal of detail in his work. The rat, in Chinese culture, is seen to be an entrepreneur and a leader. Those born in the Year of the Rat are thought to be innovative, pioneering and quick thinkers. They are ambitious and strong-willed. They may also be manipulative,
duplicitous or cold. On the obverse face of the coin, the Emblem of China is prominently displayed. The Emblem, in use since 1950, shows an symbol of Imperial China, the Tiananmen Gate, surrounded by symbols of Mao’s agricultural revolution and topped by a symbol of the Communist Party, a large star surrounded by four smaller stars. These four smaller stars stand for the the four social classes of China. These classes were outlined in Mao’s “ Bloc of Four Social Classes.” Below the Emblem, one can see the year of minting as well as the characters which symbolize “The People’s Republic of China.”
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