1995 5 oz Gold Xu Beihong Centenary

500 Yuan Proof Coin

About the 1995 5 oz Gold Xu Beihong Centenary 500 Yuan Proof Coin

The proof quality piece shown above is the 1995 5 oz Gold Xu Beihong Centenary coin.  It is one of five coins produced in 1995 in celebration and commemoration of the great life and works of the Chinese master painter, Xu Beihong (1895 - 1953).  The coin has a fineness of 99.9%, a mintage of 100 pieces, measures 60mm across, and was issued by the Shanghai Mint.

Shown on the reverse face is a picture of the artist himself.  This rendering, in which he shown during his younger years wearing a suit, expertly encapsulates his likeness.  To his left is his year of birth, 1895, while to the right is struck 1995.  Above the design appears the inscription: “Commemorating the Centenary of the Birth of Xu Beihong”.  Below the image is are the characters: “The People's Republic of China”.  Further below this is the year of production, 1995.

Xu Beihong was a highly respected and influential painter, both within China and abroad.  His works have been exhibited in several European countries, most notably in 1933, when he arranged for the exhibition of his works in such countries as France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, as well as the Soviet Union.  At the time of the Second World War he also displayed his paintings across south-east Asia, helping to raise money to relieve the suffering of those Chinese affected by the ongoing conflict.  He is most renowned for his ink paintings.  However, upon his return from his studies in Europe, he brought back many of the ideas and techniques he had learned, amalgamating them with traditional Chinese artistic methods to form a new style that was to characterise 20th Century Chinese art.

The obverse face shows a rendering of a picture by Xu Beihong entitled The Arrival of Laozi, created in 1943.  Depicted is the famous Chinese philosopher Laozi, who is said to have lived around the 6th Century BC and is accredited with writing the philosophical text, the Daodejing.  He is shown riding an ox - a symbol commonly associated with Laozi - which signifies Laozi's oneness with himself and nature (one of the fundamental aspects of his philosophy).  To the right is the signature of the artist.  Below is the face value, 500 yuan.


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