World Coins

Ancient Chinese mythical creatures on five-ounce silver $5 coin from Tuvalu

Four ancient mythical Chinese creatures are showcased on a new Antique Finish Ultra-High Relief 5-ounce .9999 fine $5 silver piedfort coin from Tuvalu issued by the Perth Mint.

Images courtesy of Talisman Coins.

Four ancient mythical Chinese creatures are showcased on a new Antique Finish Ultra-High Relief 5-ounce .9999 fine $5 silver piedfort coin from Tuvalu issued by the Perth Mint.

The four mythical creatures of ancient Chinese legend — the blue dragon (air), white tiger (earth), red phoenix (fire), and black tortoise or turtle (water) — are depicted in vibrant hues on the coin. The Yin and Yang symbol in the middle centers the images.

According the ancient Chinese mythology, the universe is divided into four quadrants, each representing a season: spring, summer, autumn and winter.

The seasons are divided from each other by the winter and summer solstices, and the autumn and spring equinoxes. These heavenly quadrants are known as the “Four Celestial Palaces” with each palace protected and represented by a guardian animal with a corresponding color, element, and virtue.

Additionally, Yin and Yang represent male and female, as well as completion, perfection and balance.

Blue Dragon

The dragon is considered to be the symbol of ultimate power.

Although fearsome and frightening, the dragon is also benevolent, just, and a bringer of wealth and good fortune. The dragon’s color is blue, its direction is east, and its element is air, represented by the clouds in which the dragon flies. It represents spring, wood, and propriety.

White Tiger

The tiger is the king of all animals and the lord of the mountains. The tiger’s color is white, its direction is west, and its element is land, as represented by the mountains in which the tiger prowls. The tiger is also believed to be a bringer of wealth and a symbol of a good marriage. The tiger protects the Celestial Palace of autumn. It represents metal, and is said to be a fierce protector, with the power to exorcise evil spirits and grant a good harvest.

Red Phoenix

The auspicious phoenix’s appearance is a harbinger of times of good fortune. This mythical bird is symbolic of resurrection and immortality, and is believed to bring happiness and knowledge to people. The phoenix’s color is red, its direction is south, and its season is summer and its element is fire, as depicted by the flames in which it is consumed and then reborn.

Black Tortoise

The tortoise symbolizes longevity, wisdom, knowledge, and fecundity of reproduction.

The ancient Chinese believed there were no male tortoises, and so the females were forced to mate with snakes. As a result, the tortoise is commonly portrayed in an embrace with a snake (as on this coin).

The tortoise’s color is black, its direction is north, its season is winter, and its element water, represented by the waves in which it swims. According to legend, the tortoise is considered god of all the world’s oceans, seas, lakes and rivers.


The coin weighs 155.533 grams and measures 50.9 millimeters in diameter.

Ing Ing Jong designed the reverse, which is paired with the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.

The coin has a mintage limit of 488 pieces, each with an individually numbered certificate of authenticity.

The coin retails for $498.88 each, with quantity discounts available. To order, visit the distributor website,

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