The Lunar Year of the Tiger collectable coin blends elements of traditional British design with ancient Chinese culture and has been designed by renowned artist David Lawrence.
The coin’s design depicts the tiger face on with its Chinese symbol positioned to the right. When inspecting the design closely an additional symbol can be seen on the tiger’s forehead. The symbol represents the pictogram for ‘king’ – ‘王’. The symbol ‘王’ is said to be the written character for king and originates from the pattern on the tiger’s head.
The Royal Mint’s Shēngxiào Collection is a celebration of the UK’s diverse multi-cultural society, lending a unique British angle to this ancient custom. During Chinese New Year it is common to exchange tokens and gifts of money in red envelopes symbolising good wishes for the recipient’s health, wealth and prosperity.
Clare Maclennan, Divisional Director of Commemorative Coin at The Royal Mint said: “The Royal Mint began our Shēngxiào Collection in 2014, combining centuries of British craftsmanship and artistic skills with a centuries-old Chinese tradition – creating the first official UK Lunar coins. Ahead of Chinese New Year, we are thrilled to introduce the latest coin as part of the collection celebrating the Year of the Tiger. The coin’s design is a beautiful fusion of British and Chinese tradition featuring the tiger as a prominent feature of the coin.”
The Chinese zodiac follows a 12-year cycle with each year characterised by a different animal. Ancient legend tells of a Great Race between the animals. Several variants of the story exist, but in one popular interpretation the Jade Emperor, ruler of the heavens, declared that the first 12 animals to sign up would be eligible to take part, and the order they finished in would determine the order of the lunar calendar.
The Tiger is considered one of the most beloved and respected creatures in Chinese culture. Characteristically brave and unyielding, the tiger is one of the most significant symbols in Chinese culture. Hailed for symbolising power, strength, and bravery, the animal also represents majesty and righteousness. Those born in the Year of the Tiger are thought to possess many of these traits and are said to be confident and courageous, meaning people born under this sign are thought of as natural leaders.
The Lunar Year of the Tiger collectable coins are available in a range of precious metals finishes. Visit www.royalmint.com/lunar to view the full collection.