In 1997 a series of seven proof quality Yellow River Culture coins were issued to celebrate various elements of Chinese culture associated with the Yellow River. Five of these coins are silver and two are gold. The coin shown above is the 5 oz gold coin of the series and features Houyi, the God of Archery. It was struck at the Shanghai mint with a mintage of only 128. It measures 60mm in diameter, contains 99.9% pure gold, is 500yuan in face value, and is a proof quality coin.
Featured on the reverse face is a picture of Houyi shooting down nine falling suns under the rays of a tenth sun. In the bottom left of the coin face is the face value, 500yuan.
Chinese mythology tells us that there used to be ten suns, sometimes represented in the form of ten sun-birds who were the offspring of Dijun, the God of Eastern Heaven. Every day one of the ten would be driven by their mother, Xihe, around the world in a carriage. However, the suns got bored of this repetitive routine and decided they would all rise at once, scorching the earth and causing immense heat throughout the world. The Emperor Yao requested divine aid from Dijun who recruited Houyi to simply frighten the suns. However, seeing the devastation they had brought upon the land, Houyi felt angered and thought desperate measures were needed and so he shot and killed nine of the suns. He was on the point of killing the tenth and final sun when the Emperor stopped him, seeing that killing the final sun would plunge the earth into darkness. Houyi was subsequently hailed as a hero for saving humankind.
Featured on the obverse face is a rendering of a Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) circular brick featuring a dragon motif. The brick is shown above choppy seas, onto which is inscribed the year of production, 1997. Displayed above the dragon image is the inscription: “The People’s Republic in China”, written in Chinese characters.
We are available to assist you with any questions on this or other Chinese coins. Our unique expertise and experience in Chinese numismatics covers modern, imperial, republic and circulating coins. We pride ourselves in servicing our clientele to work in building special collections or locate key date coins with help from our global network and have done so since 2004. In addition, we are frequently top bidders on coins and collections when looking to divest.