Year of the Rabbit Silver Coin, 1999, one ounce
Above is a one ounce, 99.9% pure, silver Chinese zodiac coin. This is the Year of the Rabbit coin, produced in 1999. It is one of several rabbit coins produced in this year; this coin is the one ounce rabbit coin, bearing the denomination of 10 yuan. The reverse shows a rabbit leaping across the coin, and the obverse illustrates the iconic Tiananmen Gate of Heavenly Peace, one of the entrances to the Forbidden City. The coin bears the face value of 10 yuan. The China Mint released 8,000 of these one ounce, 10 yuan rabbit coins in 1999.
As pictured on the obverse face, the Tiananmen Gate is surrounded by sheaves of wheat and rice, the agricultural resources that funded and fueled the 1949 revolution. Above the gate, one can see the five stars representing the people and founding principles of modern Chinese government. The largest star symbolizes the Communist Party. Below this star, the four stars represent the four classes outlined in Maoís ìNew Democracy.î These classes are the proletariat workers, the peasant farmers, the business owners and the entrepreneurial capitalists.
The rabbit, appearing on the reverse, is based on a painting by the renowned artist Xu Beihong. Xu was a painter well loved by the Communist Party of China. In 1949, he was appointed as president of the Central Academy of Fine Arts and chair of the Chinese Artists Association. Xu focused on incorporating Western technique with traditional Chinese painting technique. One can see evidence of Xu’s style in the reproduction of “Picture of a Speeding Hare” on the reverse of the coin. Xu employed perspective and strong brush strokes with the detail common to traditional Chinese art. The embellishment artist does an excellent job of capturing Xu’s style on this coin. The hare leaps gracefully across the coin, seeming to duck under a collection of spring flowers. The 100 yuan mark appears just next to the rabbits forepaws. Above the hare, one can read the specifications of the coin, “contains one ounce pure silver .999 Ag.”
In Chinese culture, the rabbit is a symbol of grace and longevity. It is purported that people born in the Year of the Rabbit are strong-willed yet shy and careful. Rabbits rarely make enemies, and they are known to be loyal and sensitive friends. Because of their shyness, they are sometimes said to be indifferent or isolated in spirit.
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