Exhibition details the depiction of dragon

By Wang Kaihao | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-17 08:18

Exhibition details the depiction of dragon

At the ongoing exhibition, Traveling Around the World: Chinese Dragons on Banknotes and Coins, currency exhibits are on display, showing the dragon grow to become ancient China's imperial symbol. [Photo provided to China Daily]

"Dragon are generally considered to be a spiritual totem for Chinese people," Song Zhenhong, deputy director of the Beijing administration of cultural heritage, said at the opening ceremony of the exhibition. "It has also been a crucial element in the design of the Chinese currency," she says.

According to Song, images of dragons have been a permanent theme in Chinese currency since the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD).

"Currency requires a rigid format, but it also greatly reflects the characteristics of their time," Song explains. "Money has developed into the most prominent platform for promoting the culture surrounding the Chinese dragon."

She adds that banknotes and coins bearing Chinese dragons continued to reflect the diverse shifts in China's political, cultural and social environments over the centuries.

"During China's imperial years, dragon images were depicted in a more solemn manner when it came to representing the royal family," says Li Zhidong, curator of the exhibition and a board member of the Beijing Numismatic Society.

"However, when they were printed on bank notes, they began to reflect an interesting mixture of royal majesty and people's everyday lives."

Li says the use of dragon images on currency reached its peak in the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and many exhibits are taken from this period.

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