China 1996 12 oz Silver Rat

100 Yuan Proof Coin

About the China 1996 12 oz Silver Rat 100 Yuan Proof Coin

Above, one can see one of the coins that make up a set of twelve Chinese coins featuring the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. These coins were minted between the years of 1988 and 1999. This particular set is a 12 ounce, 99.9% pure silver set that features the animals on the reverse and famous works of Chinese architecture on the obverse. These coins are all of proof quality and have a legal tender face value of 100 yuan.

This particular coin was authorized for release in 1996, the Year of the Rat, and had a minting of 500. As with the other coins in this set, the reverse face shows a replica of a famous painting of the animal of that year. “Rat Balances Itself” by Qi Baishi is the painting that appears on this particular coin. Qi was renowned for his versatility, even though he was mostly self-taught. He mastered many different art forms, including wood carving and calligraphy. Qi was most well-known for his watercolor paintings of animals. The painting shown here depicts a rat sitting atop the hook on a set of scales. He is balanced perfectly by a weight opposite him. Above the painting is the denomination of the coin, 100 yuan.

In Chinese culture, those born in the year of the rat are thought to be charismatic and influential leaders. They possess a pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit and may be motivated by promotion or monetary reward. The rat may be thought as cunning or calculating, which is demonstrated well by Qi’s painting.

On the obverse of the coin is a picture of the River View Tower in Chengdu, one of the three famous cultural attractions in Chengdu. Above the River View Tower, one can see the characters that signify, “The People’s Republic of China.” The River View Tower was built to honor Xue Tao, a woman poet of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). Though woman writers have been historically marginalized in China, particularly during the dynastic era, Xue was well-respected for her humor, intelligence and gift for writing poetry. As Xue Tao was known to adore bamboo, many varieties of bamboo surround her memorial. The gardens at the River View Tower are noted to be some of the finest in Chengdu. Printed below the tower is “1996,” the year of release.

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