The coin pictured is one of twelve which make up a complete set of 500 yuan 5 oz gold lunar coins issued between 1988 and 1999. They are proof coins with a purity of 99.9% and have a diameter of 60mm. The reverse face of the coins in this set feature the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac while the obverse shows various famous Chinese buildings.
This is the 1998 Year of the Tiger coin from the set. The obverse features the inscription “The People’s Republic of China”, below which is an image of a tower from the Badaling section of the Great Wall, just outside Beijing, with the mountains rising up in the background. Below this picture is the year of production, 1998.
The reverse shows a painting by Zhang Shanzai (1882-1940), the second eldest brother of the master painter Zhang Daqian. The painting featured is called “Picture of Roaring Tiger”. It shows a tiger standing imposingly on a rock, its head turned as it roars. The denomination, 500 yuan, is inscribed to the right of the image. This coin has a mintage of 99.
The tiger is traditionally considered the king of the beasts in Chinese culture. The tiger has a powerful and passionate nature and is a born leader. Those born in the Year of the Tiger are considered to be somewhat unpredictable, daring, and impulsive, bordering on reckless. The powerful and passionate personality of the tiger is expertly captured by the artist in this painting, shown by the strong stance and seemingly vivid roar of the animal.