The large coin at the left appeared on a Chinese coin forum in 2011. Just inside the outer rim are the names of the twenty-eight mansions as explained above.
Surrounding the small
square hole in the center of the coin are the
characters for the four directions: north (北),
south (南), east (东) and west (西).
In the area between
the the "four directions" and the "twenty-eight
mansions" at the outer rim are a series of symbols
composed of three lines each. Some of the
lines are complete and some are "broken".
These are known as bagua or trigrams. There
are a total of eight trigrams displayed and each
trigram has a Chinese character above it.
For a detailed discussion concerning trigrams
please see The
Book of Changes and Bagua Charms.
The eight trigrams
displayed on the coin are associated with the Five
Elements (wu xing 五行)
which are discussed at Ancient
Chinese Charm Symbols: Star, Moon, Cloud and
These eight trigrams are the same as those on a charm shown at The Book of Changes and Bagua Charms although the trigrams are in a different order. Starting at the top and going clockwise, the trigrams on this coin are as follows: xun 巽 (wind), zhen 震 (thunder), gen 艮 (mountain), kan 坎 (water), qian 乾 (heaven), dui 兑 (lake), kun 坤 (earth) and li 离 (fire).
The reverse side of the coin is
shown at the left.
Surrounding the square hole in the middle are The Five Elements. Starting at the top of the square hole and going clockwise the Five Elements are as follows: shui 水 (water), mu 木 (wood), jin 金 (metal), tu 土 (earth) and huo 火 (fire).
Surrounding the Five Elements are ten Chinese characters which are The Ten Heavenly Stems. Starting at the top of the square hole (above the "water" 水 character ) and going clockwise The Heavenly Stems are as follows: wu (戊), ding (丁), bing (丙), yi (乙), jia (甲), gui (癸), ren (壬), xin (辛), geng (庚) and ji (己).
Continuing outward towards the rim, the next set of characters are "The Twelve Earthly Branches". The Twelve Earthly Branches are displayed in a clockwise manner as follows: si (巳), chen (辰), mao (卯), yin (寅), chou (丑), zi (子), hai (亥), xu (戌), you (酉), shen (审), wei (未) and wu (午).
The final ring of
Chinese characters are next to the outer
rim. These are the names of the "Twenty
Mints". These were the coin producing mints
that were active during the Qing dynasty (清朝
1644-1912). The names of these twenty mints
also appear on a type of Chinese charm known as
"poem coins". "Poem
Coins" were made during the reign
(1661-1722) of the Kangxi Emperor (康熙帝). The
charms are known as "poem" coins because the names
of the twenty mints are displayed in a specific
order so that when read they sound like a poem.
of the twenty mints are in a different order
on the coin being discussed here so technically
this specimen is not a poem coin. However,
the twenty mints are the same as on the "poem
coins" and are as follows starting at the top and
read clockwise: chang (昌), su
(苏), ji (蓟), yuan (原), xuan
(宣), jiang (江), dong (东), lin
(临), fu (福), tong (同), zhang
(漳), yun (云), shan (陕), gui
(桂), tai (台), zhe (浙), guang
(广), ning (宁), he (河) and nan