1998 5 oz Gold Spring Greeting

500 Yuan Proof Coin

About the 1998 5 oz Gold Spring Greeting 500 Yuan Proof Coin

In 1998 a series of six coins, the 1998 Spring Greeting series, was issued to celebrate the role of the Spring Festival in traditional Chinese culture.  Pictured is the 500 yuan, 5 oz gold proof coin of the series, of which 128 pieces were struck at the Shanghai Mint.  It has a fineness of 99.9%.  The six coins of the 1998 series all feature the same images on their reverse and obverse faces.

Pictured on the obverse face is a traditional Chinese lantern.  This kind of lantern, the detail of which is intricately rendered on the coin face, is often seen hanging decoratively in Chinese homes during the time of the Spring Festival.  Behind the picture of the lantern is a radiating line motif in the style of light rays.  Around the top is the inscription in Chinese characters which translates as: “The People's Republic of China”.  Below, around the bottom of the obverse face, is the year of production, 1998.

The reverse face bears a picture of a scene of three young children flying kites.  The kites are in the design of various birds and insects.  To the right of the scene is are inscribed the characters: “Picture of Welcoming the Spring”.  Below is inscribed the denomination, 500 yuan.

China is the birthplace of kite flying, originating during the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279) in the city of Weifang.  Initially kites were used in the sport of kite fighting, where the object of the game was to slice the string of the opponent's kite.  Today it is still a popular cultural pastime, although nowadays kite flying, rather than kite fighting, is more prevalent.

Celebrations for the Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year, begin on the last day of the last month in the Chinese agricultural calendar, and last until the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month.  It is an occasion to gather the whole family together for a grand meal, clean and decorate the home, and to welcome in the season of Spring.


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