China 1994 1 oz Silver Unicorn

10 Yuan Proof Coin

About the China 1994 1 oz Silver Unicorn 10 Yuan Proof Coin

The coin above is 99.9% pure silver. It is one of thirteen coins produced in 1994, each of which features Chinese and Western unicorns as their embellishments. This particular coin has a denomination of 10 yuan and a ‘P Mark’ can be seen on the coin which alludes to it’s condition, proof in quality. In 1994, 10,000 of these coins were produced

The coins in this series all display two unicorns, one on the obverse and one on the reverse. The obverse depicts a Chinese unicorn, or Qilin, which was associated with the giraffe during the Ming Dynasty in China. The giraffe, imported by the admiral Zhenge, was certainly rare to see in China during that time, which makes the pairing understandable. Unlike the giraffe, the Qilin features the fierce face of a dragon topped with two antlers instead of one horn. It also has the scales of a fish and the tail of a lion. Due to rarity of its supposed appearances, a sighting of a Qilin was believed to foretell the reign of an illustrious or wise emperor. The side featuring the Chinese unicorn is inscribed with characters that signify “The People’s Republic of China.” At the bottom right of the coin is the year it was produced, 1994. Directly below the characters signifying the country name rides a young boy atop a majestic Qilin. The Qilin itself is trotting across a plume of smoke. The serious-faced child carries a flowers in each hand and looks ahead at an unknown sight. All of the 1994 Chinese unicorn coins feature this same image, excepting the bimetallic coin and the one kilogram gold coin.

The reverse of the coin features the Western unicorn, a noble white horse with a beard and a flowing tail. The Greeks originally believed that this animal could be found in India. The myth of the unicorn evolved so that it was known to be a noble white horse with cloven hooves and a spiraled horn that could neutralize poisons and cure illnesses. Unicorn “products” were quite popular during the middle ages in Europe, especially for those noblemen and women who feared being poisoned. This enhanced the unicorn’s reputation for purity and its association with religious chastity. This Chinese coin depicts the Western unicorn as a horse with a billy goat beard and the spiraled horn for which it is famous. The unicorn’s head is turned to one side, nobly displaying its beard and horn.  The unicorn bears a garland of flowers around its neck, perhaps a gesture to the collar the European unicorn is seen wearing in artwork after the fifteenth century. The horse-like creature is standing on a bed of flowers, with one hoof raised in a prancing gesture. The lettering “10 yuan” is printed to the left of the unicorn, and the wording “Sino-American Lucky Mascot” is embossed above the picture of the unicorn. Next to this wording, the word “unicorn” is printed in English in all capital letters.

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