Chinese medals - silver isn't the only composition!

Discussion in 'Modern Chinese Coins & Medallions' started by mmissinglink, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. mmissinglink

    mmissinglink Active Member

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    While I love silver coins and medals for a variety of reasons, it's certainly not the only metal that medals are made from. In fact, most modern Chinese medals are probably made from compositions of metal which include mostly copper.


    Please share some of your favorite Chinese medals here but please keep in mind, this thread should contain medals that are not made from silver since there are plenty of other threads here in the forum which highlight mostly or exclusively silver coins and medals.


    So what other metals are modern Chinese medals made from? Bronze, brass, and copper to name the most common metal compositions.

    Using bronze to cast ornamental objects and medals goes back a very long time...how long, I don't know exactly but suffice to say, way, way, way back. Why bronze? Because it's composition makes it extremely durable and hard when cooled after it's molten state. Bronze also holds detail extremely well (even better than silver), even the finest details can be cast or pressed into bronze. Brass also has very similar properties and sometimes the main alloys of each (tin for bronze and zinc for brass) can be found in the other metal composition (zinc in bronze and tin in brass).

    Some medal aficionados actually prefer bronze and brass medals over silver because of these qualities.


    Also, "Unlike coins, a medal has no intrinsic monetary value; its worth is dependent upon its artistic quality, historical importance, age, rarity, condition, size, and metallic composition."

    "Bronze: an alloy consisting principally of copper with smaller amounts of tin, and sometimes low levels of zinc, phosphorus, manganese, aluminum, silicon, lead or arsenic;
    Brass: an alloy consisting principally of copper with smaller amounts of zinc, and sometimes with very low levels of tin"


    SOURCE: http://www.historicalartmedals.com/...R TEXT/NOTES/dating_french_medals_by_edge.htm

    The main difference between a medal and a coin (other than the nominal value stamped onto a coin) is that in general, a medal's surfaces are dedicated mostly to the sculpted image while a coin's surface generally has a lot more space dedicated to text...not in all cases but in most cases. Further, many modern Chinese medals are produced in very low mintage numbers, usually far lower than any modern Chinese coins. This scarcity of Chinese medals is one aspect that has drawn me and many others to seeking out these rarities.



    This thread is dedicated to Chinese medals composed of metals other than silver. The medals you share do not have to be made in one of the official mints of China and in fact I'd argue that some of the large, well established private mints are producing medals that are aesthetically and perhaps even qualitatively equal to or in some cases better than some of the medals being produced by the official mints.

    I promise you, you will not be disappointed at all if you appreciate the aesthetic beauty of medals. I know that a number of forum members here have some real beauties to share with us and I hope they do when they get the chance.

    In my next post to this thread, I will share pictures of a stunning modern Chinese medal and then I will give details about it. So stay tuned and check back in the Modern Chinese Coins & Medallions section here in this forum.


    Finally, if I have gotten something wrong in my descriptions above, please point it out. I am by no means an expert on modern Chinese coins and medals....I am simply a lover and enthusiast of them.


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  2. mmissinglink

    mmissinglink Active Member

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    As I promised, here is what I consider one of the most excellent modern Chinese medal designs that I have come across. I will follow up this post with a post describing this medal but I do want to just state that this is a unique design (as far as I know) because while the two medals in this set stand alone as separate and distinct from one another (even their metal composition is different), they are designed to be fit together perfectly to make one unified medal!

    Also notice, as it's hard not to, that they are extremely high relief...gives "ultra high relief" a new meaning:



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    DESCRIPTION


    The Great Wall From Shanghai Pass to Jiayu Pass duplet (pair) medal set


    Diameter: 80mm
    Thickness: Extremely high relief, in some areas as much as approximately 30-35mm
    Material: Copper and Brass
    Mintage Limit: set 399
    Mint: Shanghai New Century Mint, China
    Weight: over 1000 grams

    It consists of two medals.



    The length of the Great Wall of China (includes all its branches) is 13,170 miles! By comparison, the entire continent of Australia from the east coast to the west coast is approximately 2,500 miles. The United States, considered the 4th largest country in the entire world, is somewhat larger at about 3,000 miles (continental U.S.). So the Great Wall of China, if we could lay all its branches end to end, is more than 4 times the longitudinal length of the continental U.S. and more than 5 times the longitudinal length of Australia!


    Shanghai Pass is the east end and Jiayu Pass is the west end of the Great Wall.




    The description below comes from an auction (the only one I found) for this scarce medal set. Much of that seems to be sourced from Wikipedia. I cleaned up what is a little confusing sentence structure from the auction creator's description.


    The design for the Yellow River symbolized as the Chinese Dragon design medal (in copper) pieces together with the Great Wall medal (in brass), This is the spirit of the Chinese nationality.unity and coming together for strength. Very symbolic and artistic!



    Shanhai Pass , known in Chinese as Shanhaiguan, also called Yu Pass (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Ygun), is one of the major passes in the Great Wall of China. The words "First Pass Under Heaven" (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Tinxi Dy Gun) are engraved above one of the gates and so the site is also known by that name. It is located in Shanhaiguan District, Qinhuangdao, Hebei province. In 1961, the pass became a National Cultural Site of China. It is a popular tourist destination given its situation at the eastern end of the main line of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall. The location where the wall meets the Bohai Sea is nicknamed "Old Dragon's Head." The pass lies nearly 300 kilometres (190 mi) east of Beijing and is linked via the Jingshen Expressway that runs northeastward to Shenyang. Throughout Chinese history, the pass served as a frontline defense against ethnic groups from Manchuria including the Khitan, Jurchen and the Manchus).

    Structure
    The Shanhai Pass is where the Great Wall of China meets the ocean (at the Bohai Sea).

    The Shanhai Pass is built as a square, with a perimeter of around 4 kilometres (2.5 mi). The walls reach a height of 14 metres (46 ft), and are 7 metres (23 ft) thick. The east, south and north sides are surrounded by a deep, wide moat. There are drawbridges over the moat. In the middle of the pass stands a tall bell tower.

    All four sides of the Shanhai Pass once possessed a gate or mn (), with the Zhndng Mn () in the East wall, the Yngn Mn ( ) in the West, the Wngyng Mn () in the South and the Wiyun Mn () in the North. Due to lack of repairs over the centuries, only the Zhendong Gate remains today. This was the most important gate due to its position, which faces outside the pass towards Beijing.

    SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanhai_Pass




    Jiayuguan or Jiayu Pass (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Jiy Gun; literally: "Excellent Valley Pass") is the first pass at the west end of the Great Wall of China, near the city of Jiayuguan in Gansu province. It has also been called "Jiayuguan Pass"; however, this form is redundant since "guan" means "pass" in Chinese. Along with Juyongguan and Shanhaiguan, it is one of the main passes of the Great Wall.

    Location
    The pass is located at the narrowest point of the western section of the Hexi Corridor, 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) southwest of the city of Jiayuguan in Gansu. The structure lies between two hills, one of which is called Jiayuguan Pass. It was built near an oasis that was then on the extreme western edge of China.

    Description

    The pass is trapezoid-shaped with a perimeter of 733 metres (2,405 ft) and an area of more than 33,500 square metres (361,000 sq ft). The total length of the city wall is 733 metres (2,405 ft) and the height is 11 metres (36 ft).

    There are two gates: one on the east side of the pass, and the other on the west side. On each gate there is a building. An inscription of "Jiayuguan" in Chinese is written on a tablet at the building at the west gate. The south and north sides of the pass are connected to the Great Wall. There is a turret on each corner of the pass. On the north side, inside the two gates, there are wide roads leading to the top of the pass.

    Jiayuguan consisted of three defense lines: an inner city, an outer city, and a moat.

    When famous traveller Mildred Cable first visited Jiayuguan in 1923, she described it as

    To the north of the central arch was a turreted watch-tower, and from it the long line of the wall dipped into a valley, climbed a hill and vanished over its summit. Then a few poplar trees came in sight, and it was evident from the shade of green at the foot of the wall that here was grass and water. Farther on a patch of wild irises spread a carpet of blue by the roadside, just where the cart passed under an ornamental memorial arch and lurched across a rickety bridge over a bubbling stream.

    Legend and history
    A fabulous legend recounts the meticulous planning involved in the construction of the pass. According to legend, when Jiayuguan was being planned, the official in charge asked the designer to estimate the exact number of bricks required and the designer gave him a number (99,999). The official questioned his judgment, asking him if that would be enough, so the designer added one brick. When Jiayuguan was finished, there was one brick left over, which was placed loose on one of the gates where it remains today.

    The structure was built during the early Ming dynasty, sometime around the year 1372. The fortress there was greatly strengthened due to fear of an invasion by Timur, but Timur died of old age while leading an army toward China.[2]

    Significance

    Among the passes on the Great Wall, Jiayuguan is the most intact surviving ancient military building. The pass is also known by the name the "First and Greatest Pass Under Heaven" (), which is not to be confused with the "First Pass Under Heaven" (), a name for Shanhaiguan at the east end of the Great Wall near Qinhuangdao, Hebei.

    The pass was a key waypoint of the ancient Silk Road.

    Jiayuguan has a somewhat fearsome reputation because Chinese people who were banished were ordered to leave through Jiayuguan for the west, the vast majority never to return. Mildred Cable noted in her memoirs[3] that it was known to men of a former generation as Kweimenkwan (Gate of the Demons)....The most important door was on the farther side of the fortress, and it might be called Traveller's Gate, though some spoke of it as the Gate of Sighs. It was a deep archway tunnelled in the thickness of the wall.... Every traveller toward the north-west passed through this gate, and it opened out on that great and always mysterious waste called the Desert of Gobi. The long archway was covered with writings...the work of men of scholarship, who had fallen on an hour of deep distress. Who were then the writers of this Anthology of Grief? Some were heavy-hearted exiles, others were disgraced officials, and some were criminals no longer tolerated within China's borders. Torn from all they loved on earth and banished with dishonoured nam to the dreary regions outside.

    Amongst those once banished in disgrace was the famous Chinese Opium War Viceroy of Liangguang, Commissioner Lin Zexu, who died in rmqi where a statue in his honor can today be found in a local park.

    The real stars of Jiayuguan are the thousands of tombs from the Wei and Western Jin Dynasty (265420) discovered east of the city in recent years. The 700 excavated tombs are famous in China, and replicas or photographs of them can be seen in nearly every major Chinese museum. The bricks deserve their fame; they are both fascinating and charming, depicting such domestic scenes as preparing for a feast, roasting meat, picking mulberries, feeding chickens, and herding horses. Of the 18 tombs that have been excavated, only one is currently open to tourists. Many frescos have also been found around Jiayuguan but most are not open to visitors.

    SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiayu_Pass





    EDIT: added description following pictures.



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  3. barsenault

    barsenault Well-Known Member

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    Here is a video of the brass lunar cartoon series.

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7mWwEFLGtk[/youtube]
     
  4. barsenault

    barsenault Well-Known Member

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    Another one of my favorites, a copper error Great Wall medal.

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mpv5uFA0PNw[/youtube]
     
  5. Northerncoins

    Northerncoins New Member Silver Stacker

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    I really like these bronze medals, the larger the better lol, Most people ignore them because they are not made of silver, but some of these are impressive regardless of the P/M content.
     
  6. barsenault

    barsenault Well-Known Member

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    Another mix of metals. These are fascinating for sure.

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GRxDZqd8Io[/youtube]
     
  7. mmissinglink

    mmissinglink Active Member

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    2011 Xi-Shi (4 Beauties) Holding a Pearl copper medal. Three NGC graded versions....




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  8. Stark

    Stark Active Member Silver Stacker

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    Are you proud owner of these?:)
     
  9. mmissinglink

    mmissinglink Active Member

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    No, I have no graded Xi-Shi medals, only a raw medal set.

    Wish I could find a reasonably priced graded Xi-Shi.



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  10. Stark

    Stark Active Member Silver Stacker

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    Ah, I then remembered when I read "your favorite Chinese medals/set" topic again. I was searching around the Google a little bit and found some forum. Guy was selling these about 2 years ago. Graded was much cheaper than today ungraded ones. :/

    I will try to find that link.
     
  11. mmissinglink

    mmissinglink Active Member

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    Yes, these medals went up noticeably in price and I only found out about them after the higher prices set in. It's possible that the prices will continue to rise on these; the mintage is so low and the design so awesome.

    The sculptor, I believe, is regarded as a top medal sculptor in China.


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  12. Stark

    Stark Active Member Silver Stacker

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    If not also in the whole world. ;)

    I guess you can't go wrong with (half naked) woman on a coin. :p
     
  13. mmissinglink

    mmissinglink Active Member

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    Stay tuned to this channel Stark. I will be posting some pics of a Chinese medal with a classical artistically and tastefully sculpted nude beauty you won't to miss. This next medal is guaranteed to make your eyes pop.



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  14. Elkslayer132

    Elkslayer132 New Member

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    My Xi-Shi with pearl copper and brass arrived today from Thincat wow are they nice much better than the pictures.
    I can't read the Coa's can someone tell me which coa goes with which medal i have Z209 and H209 or do i need to post picture of coa's
    Thanks for help
     
  15. mmissinglink

    mmissinglink Active Member

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    I'm almost 100% certain that H is brass, Z is copper

    Yes, these Chinese extreme high relief medals are always better in hand than in pics and video.



    Your medal set arrived quickly...congrats!



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  16. Elkslayer132

    Elkslayer132 New Member

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    Sent my Brass and Copper Xi Shi to NGC yesterday for grading fingers crossed for a 70. First time ever sending my own Coin/Medals for grading.
     
  17. KeepOnTrying!

    KeepOnTrying! Member

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    Goodluck to you. Hope you score high. Even just having those medals is already a high score!:D
     
  18. andrewlee10

    andrewlee10 Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    You will get your soon. Still looking and searching high and low for good pricing.
     
  19. mmissinglink

    mmissinglink Active Member

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    Very well put. These medals have been very difficult to come by these days (and the mintgae is very low in the first place) and so just owning a set, graded or not, is something to be very enthusiastic about.




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  20. Stark

    Stark Active Member Silver Stacker

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    Anyone ever seen silver ones on feeBay?
     

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