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Friday, 15 June 2018

740) Chinese Guardian Lions: A set of two 10 Dollars Silver Coins representing a Male & a Female Guardian Lions minted by Coin Invest Trust (through B.H.Mayer's Kunstprageanstalt, Munich Mint) on behalf of the Republic of Palau: Coins dated 2017, but released for collectors in March 2018:

740) Chinese Guardian Lions: A set of two 10 Dollars Silver Coins representing a Male & a Female Guardian Lions minted by Coin Invest Trust (through B.H.Mayer's Kunstprageanstalt, Munich Mint) on behalf of the Republic of Palau: Coins dated 2017, but released for collectors in March 2018:

Chinese Guardian Lions or Imperial Guardian Lions, commonly (and incorrectly) termed as "Foo dogs", appeared in Imperial China during the Han Dynasty. Guardian Lions are also referred to as "Shi-Shi" (in Chinese - meaning "stone lions" or "lion sculptures carved in stone").

The genesis of the Chinese Guardian Lions:

The Guardian Lions representation/concept was very popular with Chinese Buddhism who took the Lion symbolism of the Asiatic Lion in India, (which was called "Simha", in Sanskrit) from Indian culture and spread it over a period of time through Buddhist monks to China and other parts of Asia - Japan, Korea, Tibet, Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Cambodia and Laos.

Since ancient times, Lions statues adorned palaces and temples and other important buildings in India and was associated with Hindu Gods and Goddesses, while in Buddhism, it is depicted as the protector of "Dharma" (meaning "cosmic law and order").

The evolution of the Chinese Guardian Lions symbolism in China:

With increased trade during the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD) and cultural exchanges through the Silk Road, lions were introduced into China from the ancient states of India, Sogdiana, Samarkad, Yuezhi etc. in the form of pelts and live tribute along with stories about them from the Buddhist monks and travellers of the time.

Several instances of lions as "imperial tributes" are recorded in a document titled "Book of the Later Han" written from 25 AD to 220 AD. 

The Buddhist version of the Lion was originally introduced to Han ruled China as the protector of "Dharm" and these lions have been found in religious art as early as 208 BC. Gradually, they became the guardians of the "Chinese Imperial Dharm". The Lions were regarded as "regal beasts" and guarded the Emperor's gates and have been used as such ever since. Various styles of guardian lions reflecting the artistic influences from different time periods, imperial dynasties and regions of China have depicted the Guardian lions from fierce to serene.

Also, over time, the form of the Chinese Guardian Lion eventually became standardised and formalised during the Ming and Qing Dynasties into its present form.

The lions are traditionally carved from decorative stone, like marble and granite or cast in iron and bronze. The metal/stone quality of construction, usually represented/was a symbol of the family's wealth or social status, with the placement of the Guardian Lions in front of the family home.

The lions are always presented in pairs, a manifestation of "yin and yang" (the female principle represented by "yin" and the male principle by "yang").

The male lion has its right front paw on a type of cloth ball called the "embroidered ball" or a "pearl", which is sometimes carved with a geometric pattern.

The female lion is essentially identical, but has a cub under the closer (left) paw to the male, representing the cycle of life.

Chinese lions symbolically represent/reflect the emotion of the animal as opposed to the reality of the lion. The claws, teeth and eyes of the Chinese lion represent power.

According to "Feng shui", the correct placement of the lions is important to ensure their beneficial effect.

Guardian Lions are believed to keep out all bad influences trying to cross the borders of the protected territory.

 With their protective powers, the lions watched over imperial palaces, temples and tombs.

Present Day:

The popularity of the Guardian Lions has risen steeply since then and presently, they are seen guarding entrances to hotels, restaurants and people's homes. The lions are usually shown in pairs - with a male lion resting a paw on a sphere and the female lion restraining a cub.

The Coins:

Coin Invest Trust AG (CIT) has dedicated this two-coin set to the popular Chinese Guardian spirits. The frosting presents the matted Lions in a contrast with the black proof background. Ornamental details give way to larger surfaces.

Although the coin features "2017" as the year of issue, the delivery was delayed due to the complex manufacturing processes involved and the coins were made available in March 2018. 

Chinese numerals & the minted coin sets:

Interestingly, the numeral "8" is the Chinese lucky number which guarantees wealth, fortune, success and social status. The number of coin sets minted is "888" as a talisman to  enhancement in wealth, fortune, success and social status.

Similarly, the numeral "2" is the epitome of harmony. That is why the weight of the individual coin pieces has been kept at "2" Oz.

On the Reverse of the first 10 Dollars Silver Coin is shown the male Lion resting its paw on a pearl in the shape of an embroidered ball. The background image is that of the architecture found in Chinese Temples.

On the Obverse of the first 10 Dollars Silver Coin is depicted a Chinese Guardian Lion from behind, in the field to the left.

The inscription on the upper periphery is "CHINESE GUARDIAN LIONS 2017". The emblem of the Republic of Palau (issuing country), designed as a vignette, with the inscription "Republic of Palau - 10 DOLLARS" is towards the centre right periphery.

On the Reverse of the second 10 Dollars Silver Coin is seen a frontal view of a female Guardian Lion, its left paw resting on a curled-up lion cub.

On the Obverse of the 10 Dollars Silver Coin is "mirror inverted", but shows the same elements 

The specifications of the two coins are:

Country of issue: Republic of Palau; Year of issue: 2018 (with year marked as 2017 on the coins); Denomination: 10 Dollars; Metal Composition:.999 fineness Silver (Ag); Weight: 2 Oz; Diameter/Size: 38.61 mm; Coin Quality: Proof; Mintage: 888 sets; Minted by: B.H. Mayer's Kunstprageanstalt, Munich mint; Technology used: Smartminting process.


The Chinese Guardian Lions coins have been minted in black, proof sets through the Smartminting relief with incredible detail and depth. The lions themselves are minted in bright silver with greyscale printing accentuating the statues shape.

The lion pair coins are presented in a silky black collector's box

The two-coin set placed against a background of the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) and the black collector's/presentation box 

 The two coins as they are placed side-by-side in the black Collector's/presentation  box

Links to posts on Australia, New Zealand and countries and Overseas Territories of the South Pacific on this Blog:


2) Papua New Guinea: An uncirculated coin set brought out in 1995 commemorating the 20th Anniversary of Independence 

 3) Currency & Coinage of the Solomon Islands: Dollars and Cents

4) New Zealand: New Banknote "Seventh Series" issued under Project "Brighter Money" from 2015 onwards

5) Coinage of the French Polynesian Island of Caledonia (or Nouvelle Caledonie) the CFP Franc  

6) French Institution for issuing uniform currency/coinage for French Overseas Territories in the Pacific and the French Southern Territories of Antarctica: The Institut d'emmission d'outre Mer (IEOM)

7) Currency & Coinage of Samoa: Tala and Sene 

8) Currency of the South Pacific Island Country of Fiji 

9) Coinage of New Zealand: A commemorative coin set issued in 1979 

10) Currency and Coinage of Australia: Dollars and Cents 

11) The Australian Emblem or the Coat of Arms 

12) The story of the Australian Penny 

13) The Legend of the Mutiny on the Bounty: A Commemorative Coin Set from the Pitcairn Islands depicting relics from the Bounty issued in 2009 

14) An Australian $5 coin issued in 1996, commemorating Australia's greatest cricketing legend - Sir Donald Bradman 

15) New Series/Generation of Australian Banknotes being introduced from 01.09.2016 onwards starting from $5 issues 

16) Southern Lights: A $1 Silver holographic coin issued by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand in January 2017

17) Currency & coinage of the Kingdom of Tonga : Pa'anga & Seniti 

18) Postage Stamps & Coin: Commemorating the Centenary of the Trans-Australian Railway Line stamps issued by Australia Post & coins by Perth Mint on 04.07.2017

Links to interesting Posts on coins from Tuvalu Islands:

Links to posts on issues from the Republic of Palau:

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