Shown is a 2/3 ounce, 99.9% pure, silver tiger coin, minted in 1998. It measures 36 millimeters in diameter at the widest part of the coin. It is one of the series of lunar coins produced between 1993 and 2004. This series is struck of pure silver and created in the shape of a flower, or scallop. Literally, the Chinese translation is “plum blossom shape.” This coin bears the denomination of 10 yuan and is of proof quality. It bears the tiger on the reverse of the coin, the animal of the Zodiac that corresponds to the year of issue, 1998. In all, 6800 of these silver tiger coins were released in 1998.
Zhang Shanzi’s painting, “Picture of a Roaring Tiger,” is shown on the reverse face of the coin. Zhang, who lived and worked in China fro 1882 to 1940, was well known for his portraits of tigers. The tiger stands on a boulder and roars, or chuffs, with its mouth open in a sneer. Zhang’s painting appropriately demonstrates the personality and symbolism associated with the tiger of the Chinese myth and legend. Beside the tiger on the left is the face value, 10 yuan.
The tiger is considered to be the king of beasts in Chinese culture. It is one of the Four Guardians of Heaven, along with the dragon, tortoise and phoenix. This is considered a powerful and brutal sign in the Chinese Zodiac. Those born in this year are thought to be natural leaders who are skilled at inspiring and influencing others to follow them. They also may be competitive and fierce in their business dealings and personal interactions. Underneath their harsh exteriors, they may be very kind and possess an unlikely tender heart.
On the top edge of the obverse face, one can read in Chinese lettering, “The People’s Republic of China.” At the very bottom edge of the obverse, one can read the year of release, 1998. In the center is a rendering of the Badaling portion of the Great Wall of China. The Great Wall was first constructed, in part, during the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC). The idea was readopted in the Ming Dynasty. Most of the wall that one can see today was built during this later period. The wall, in its various forms, defended China from Mongolian and other northern tribes.