Lucky Charm Coin flying Dragon play Phoenix Zhou Yuan Tong Bao
Chinese Lucky Charm coin Amulet
Zhou Yuan Tong Bao / Dragon Phoenix
Such charms were usually presented to a newly wedded couple for good luck. Dragon symbolises a bridegroom, Phoenix – a bride.
Obv: 周元通寶 Zhou Yuan Tong Bao
Rev: a flying Dragon playing a Phoenix.
Size: 54 mm; 43 grams; Brass
周元通寶 Zhou Yuan Tong Bao
Zhou Yuan tong bao (Chinese: 周元通寶) coins were issued by Emperor Chai Rong Shi Zong from 955. The pattern is also based on the Kai Yuan coin. They were cast from melted-down bronze statues from Buddhist temples. When reproached for this, the Emperor uttered a cryptic remark to the effect that the Buddha would not mind this sacrifice. It is said that the Emperor himself supervised the casting at the many large furnaces at the back of the palace. The coins have amuletic properties because they were made from Buddhist statues, and are particularly effective in midwifery – hence the many later-made imitations.
A Flying Dragon and Phoenix
Phoenix - The Chinese phoenix is a mythical bird known as the fenghuang (凤 凰) in Chinese. Unlike the phoenix of the West, the Chinese phoenix does not have the connotation of a bird rising from ashes. The Chinese phoenix symbolizes joy and peace. It is believed that the phoenix only makes an appearance during periods of prosperity, peace and good government. A dragon and phoenix shown together symbolize a happy and harmonious union. The phoenix is the yin equivalent of the dragon and is associated with the south and summer. The phoenix is also the symbol of the empress.
Dragon - The dragon (long 龙) is one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. The dragon is believed to live in the mountains or in the seas and can fly into the heavens. Unlike the dragons of Europe, the Chinese dragon symbolizes benevolence, prosperity, longevity and the renewal of life. Ancient Chinese believed the dragon brought rain, good harvests and fertility. The dragon is the symbol of the emperor when it has five claws. The dragon is yang and associated with the east and spring. Conjoined dragon and phoenix represent the union of a man and a woman.
Introduction to Chinese Charms
China was one of the first countries in the world to use metal coinage and its ancient coin history can be traced back well over two thousand years. In addition to official coinage, China also has a long history of producing "coin-like" charms, amulets and talismans.
Coins, as a form of money, represent power. Coin-shaped charms are, therefore, a very compact form of power. They are filled with symbolism and are believed by the multitude of Chinese to have vast powers.
Cast throughout the centuries, these ancient charms, informally referred to by the Chinese as "ya sheng coins" (压胜钱), "flower coins" (huaqian 花钱) or "play coins" (wanqian 玩钱), were not used as money but rather to suppress evil spirits, bring "good luck", "good fortune" and to avert misfortune.
The Chinese also produced other "coin-like" pieces such as "horse coins" (马钱), depicting famous historical horses, which were used for games and as gambling tokens. Other metal coin-shaped pieces traditionally included by collectors in the category of charms are the chess pieces used in Chinese chess also known as xiangqi (象棋) or "elephant" chess.
For the most part, all these old charms, horse coins and chess pieces were privately cast and their quantities and dates are almost impossible to determine. Nevertheless, they serve as important cultural artifacts from the life of the common Chinese throughout the centuries.