Between 1988 and 1999, the China Mint produced three series of coins per year to honor the Chinese zodiac: one series in gold, one series in platinum and one series in silver. Above is the model of the platinum coin produced in 1997, the Year of the Ox. This coin is a one ounce platinum coin featuring the ox on the reverse and the Emblem of China on the obverse. This coin bears the face value of 100 yuan and is .9995 in fineness. Beneath the Emblem of China on the obverse are the characters signifying, “The People’s Republic of China.” Directly below those letters is the year of authorization, 1997. On the reverse is a reproduction of a famous illustration of the ox. Below the ox, one can see the denomination of the coin, 100 yuan. Above the ox are printed the details about the metal of the coin. The platinum one ounce coin featuring the ox had a mintage of three hundred.
The National Emblem of China, featuring the Tiananmen Gate or the Gate of Heavenly Peace, was adopted in 1950. This was after the end of the Chinese revolution combatting the Nationalist Party. When the Communist Party usurped power, the emblem was developed to reflect the national struggle as well as the new rise to power. The Tiananmen Gate is circumscribed by bunches of rice and wheat, the agricultural fuel of the Chinese Revolution. Above the gate are five stars, the largest symbolizing the Communist Party itself. The other four stars represent the classes, as outlined by Mao Zedong in the “New Democracy.”
On the other side of the coin, one can see a reproduction of the noted painting by artist Huang Zhou (1925-1997). Huang’s painting features an ox dipping its head towards a stream, as if to drink. Huang was known to be a social activist and art collector. His work shows influence from the art of Northeastern China, where he was posted with the army. Below the ox is the legal tender, 100 yuan. At the top of the coin, one can read the description of the metal used to strike the coin, “contains one ounce pure platinum, .9995 in fineness.”
The ox itself represents prosperity in Chinese culture. Those born in the year of the ox are thought to be hardworking yet stubborn. An ox may be very self-reliant and perhaps a bit isolated and cold. They also are thought to possess the beneficial virtues of dependability and reliability.
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