Scene of the launch ceremony
2020 is the 600th anniversary of the Forbidden City. In order to promote traditional Chinese culture, the People’s Bank of China launched the highly anticipated gold and silver commemorative coins commemorating the 600-year formation of the Forbidden City on August 3. In the afternoon, the commemorative coin issuance ceremony was grandly opened in the Palace Museum. Du Haijiang, Secretary of the Party Committee of the Palace Museum, Deputy Directors Lou Wei and Ren Wanping, and Hu Futang, Deputy Inspector of the Currency, Gold and Silver Bureau (Security Bureau) of the People’s Bank of China, China Gold Coin Chairman Mu Shangang, Board Member Wang An, Vice President Li Zeyun, Chief Financial Officer Zhang Mingyan, Vice President Shao Junzhi, and representatives of commercial banks such as Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, and Construction Bank witnessed this historic moment.
The Forbidden City, built in the 18th year of Yongle Period in the Ming Dynasty (1420), is the largest and most well-preserved wooden palace complex in the world, and one of China’s most prestigious cultural labels. The 600-year-old Forbidden City is not only an ancient building, but also the crystallization of thousands of years of Chinese classics and relics. It is a historic testimony to the Chinese civilization that has stretched for five thousand years and is a fusion of multi-ethnic and diverse cultural forms, carrying vital historical and cultural value.
The patterns on the 600-year Forbidden City coins issued this time are the symbolic architecture and iconic elements of the Forbidden City, and the design cleverly integrates the historical and cultural connotations of the Forbidden City. The solemn theme and magnificent art complement each other, and the history and implication of the Forbidden City culture can be displayed to the greatest extent. It not only demonstrates the profound cultural and historical heritage and the essence of national culture, but also allows people to enjoy these achievements that represent the highest wisdom of the ancient Chinese, as well as the cultural confidence of the Chinese people.
Scene of the launch ceremony
As one of the most anticipated projects in 2020, the issuance of 600th Anniversary of the Forbidden City gold and silver commemorative coins will spread the cultural heritage and connotation of the Forbidden City on a larger scale, and present the great charm of the excellent traditional Chinese culture, “the harmony between man and nature”, which takes root in the hearts of the people.
Photo of the commemorative coins
According to the People’s Bank of China 2020 commemorative coin issuing announcement, this set of commemorative coins includes a total of 5 specifications and 7 coins—2 gold coins and 5 silver coins—all of which are the legal tender of the People’s Republic of China.
The obverse design of the commemorative coin features the national emblem of the PRC, the title of PRC and the year date. There is a total of 7 reverse designs, which are related to the Forbidden City, all published with the words “600 years of the Forbidden City” and denominations.
Reverse design of the 1kg round commemorative gold coin
Among them, the 1kg round commemorative gold coin has a denomination of 10,000 yuan and a diameter of 90 mm, with a maximum mintage of 100 pieces. The reverse depicts a bird’s-eye view of the Forbidden City with auspicious clouds, the face value and the words “The 600th Anniversary of the Forbidden City” in Chinese. As a condensation of ancient palaces in this country, the Forbidden City represents the top class of ancient Chinese official architecture in terms of architectural technology and art. The overlooking view of the Forbidden City on 1 kilogram of gold is teased as “the most expensive map of the Forbidden City” by netizens. The Forbidden City reflects China’s traditional ritual thoughts and culture. The layout, form, and decoration of its buildings all indicate the traditional characteristics of China, exemplifying Eastern architecture in the history. It is also a unique monument in the study of China’s politics and economy, social history and philosophy, standing among the cultural treasures of China and world cultural heritage. The magnificence of the Forbidden City and the spiritual core of Chinese traditional culture manifest themselves in the pattern of the 1kg round commemorative gold coin.
Reverse design of the 3g round commemorative gold coin
A 3g round commemorative gold coin has a denomination of 50 yuan and a diameter of 18mm with a maximum mintage of 60,000 pieces. The reverse depicts a bronze crane, the imperial roof decoration Da Wen, with a rising sun and auspicious clouds. The bronze crane pattern is extracted from the bronze crane standing on the front square of the Hall of Supreme Harmony （Taihe Dian）. In Chinese culture, the crane represents the spiritual character of sages and immortals, and together with the deified tortoise-body beast, it means “the tortoise and crane will last forever.” The dragon mouth behind the bronze crane is an important component of the Forbidden City. It plays multiple roles such as waterproofing and decoration. The dragon mouth in the Hall of Supreme Harmony is currently the biggest Dawen in the country, and it is the largest glass component inside the Forbidden City. The bronze crane and the dragon mouth, as patterns on the gold coins, symbolize the noble character of Chinese people and the inheritance of Chinese architectural culture.
Reverse design of the 2kg round commemorative silver coin
A 2kg round commemorative silver coin has a denomination of 600 yuan and a diameter of 130mm, with a maximum mintage of 3,000 pieces. The reverse depicts the interior of the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe Dian) ，decorative patterns, the face value and the words “The 600th Anniversary of the Forbidden City” in Chinese. It is also the commemorative silver coin of the biggest size issued this time. It applies a particular perspective of the interior of the Hall of Supreme Harmony to the design and carries out an extremely vivid and meticulous carving on the Kowloon gold-lacquered throne and the gold-plated dragon pillar. The Hall of Supreme Harmony is not only the largest palace in the Forbidden City, but also a symbol of the power center of the Ming and Qing dynasties after the completion of the Forbidden City, bearing a very special historical value. Engraved with the Hall of Supreme Harmony, this special carrier, the commemorative coins, can spread the culture of the Forbidden City to the globe and demonstrate the cultural confidence of the Chinese nation.
Reverse designs of 15g rectangular commemorative silver coins
These three 15g rectangular commemorative silver coins have a denomination of 5 yuan, a length of 32 mm and a height of 20 mm, with each launched 300,000 pieces, 3 pieces totaling 900,000 pieces. Their reverse, adorned with auspicious clouds and the foundation platform diagram, adopt the three main halls of the Forbidden City, namely the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe Dian), the Hall of Central Harmony (Zhonghe Dian) and the Hall of Preserving Harmony（Baohe Dian）. The three halls exist as the core architecture of the entire Forbidden City. Among them, the Hall of Supreme Harmony is one of the representatives of the architectural accomplishments of the Chinese authoritarian dynasty, and it is also the place where major national ceremonies were held. On major festivals, grand ceremonies took place there, too. Zhonghe Hall was the place where the emperor first arrived to take a rest when the imperial court held major ceremonies. He would receive the prior visits of his neighbors, guards and ceremony officials. The Hall of Preserving Harmony was the place where emperors hosted banquets for officials. Therefore, from the perspective of national history, architectural history and cultural history, the three magnificent and splendid palaces all carry heavy historical and cultural values.
Reverse design of the 5g round commemorative silver coin
A 5g round commemorative silver coin has a denomination of 2 yuan and a diameter of 22mm, 2 million pieces launched. The reverse depicts a bronze Qilin in an open palace door, with decorative auspicious patterns under its feet. The pattern of the bronze Qilin is extracted from a pair of gilt bronze Qilins in front of the Cining Gate. The deified beast is an auspicious animal in traditional Chinese culture. The ancients believed that wherever the Qilin appeared, there must be auspiciousness. Meanwhile, the ancients also like to use “Qilin” as a metaphor for a person with outstanding capabilities and political integrity. The copper Qilin pattern on the 5g round commemorative silver coin looks ahead with both eyes and raises its head high, the image with a vivid shape and look, which means the blessing of peace and harmony.
To grant every citizen the opportunity to witness the important moment of the launch, after the issuance ceremony, the organizers also carried out a live webcast of “Virtually tour the Forbidden City and Witness the “Golden” Color”. The travel route applied “gold” as a clue. Netizens followed in the footsteps of the host Ren Zhihong, Deputy Director of the Palace Museum Ren Wanping, and Vice President of China Gold Coin Corporation Shao Junzhi. They found stories and memories related to “gold” in the 600-year-old Forbidden City. Through their explanations, the audience acquired a deeper understanding of the history and culture behind the Forbidden City.
Live pickup of the virtual tour
Commemorative coins are important carriers of cultural heritage. In the launch history of Chinese commemorative coins, each commemorative coin has its own special significance. In December 2019, the Palace Museum and China Gold Coin Corporation signed a strategic cooperation agreement to jointly explore the traditional cultural resources of gold and silver commemorative coins, to inherit and promote the excellent traditional Chinese culture, to tell Chinese stories properly, and to convey the Chinese spirit, Chinese values and China power. It is dedicated to in-depth cooperation in precious metal commemorative coin project planning, cultural and creative product development-promotion, precious metal commemorative coin distribution, personnel exchange and business training, information exchange and other related resources.
The launch of this set of commemorative coins is the inheritance of the profound cultural heritage of the Forbidden City and meantime expresses confidence in the bright prospects of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. It shall contribute specially and marvelously in the cultural inheritance of the Forbidden City, in promoting and cultivating the national spirit while building a common spiritual home for the Chinese nation, and in expanding the influence of Chinese civilization.