The launch of The Royal Mint’s lunar coin collection has become an eagerly anticipated annual event, with the Year of the Dog the latest in the 1,100-year-old organisation’s popular lunar calendar line-up.
The series is a celebration of the UK’s diverse multi-cultural society, lending a unique British angle to this ancient custom. Lunar new year is traditionally a time for exchanging tokens and gifts of money in red envelopes, symbolizing good wishes for the recipient’s health, wealth and prosperity.
Each lunar year is linked to one of 12 animals, whose traits are attributed to those born during that year. British-Chinese artist and printmaker Wuon-Gean Ho, designer of The Royal Mint’s lunar collection, has chosen a terrier to represent her 2018 design for the ‘Year of the Dog’, which starts on 16 February 2018.
“The dog I have depicted is a mixed breed, like a West Highland White Terrier crossed with a Jack Russell. I wanted to show the energy and exuberance of a more compact dog. Bouncy, full of life and very playful, terriers have a quick intelligence, lots of loyalty and big personalities,” said Wuon-Gean.
The background design behind the leaping terrier on the coin design is a biometric nose print of a greyhound belonging to Wuon-Gean’s friend.
“In a similar way to fingerprints in people, dogs each have their own unique nose prints. The nose print ties into the British regard for dogs as individuals and refers to the tradition of dog portraiture. The pixelated nature of the nose print is a contemporary take on the digitized information that surrounds us in the 21st century,” said Wuon-Gean.
The coins are supplied in bold red packaging, together with a booklet that reveals the customs that inspired the artist. All coins in the range are limited, with mintages featuring the number ‘8’ thought to be lucky in Chinese culture.
What Does It Mean to Be Born in the Year of the Dog?
Just as a dog is seen as a faithful companion, people born in the Year of Dog are believed to be true friends. Typically, they are said to be honest, kind and will do everything for the person they think is most important.
Due to their loyal personality, those born in the Year of the Dog are said to work in jobs that involve helping others. They are popular in the workplace as they are easy-going and happy to lighten the load of those around them. While they can jump to conclusions, people born in the Year of the Dog are said to be intuitive and caring.
About the Artist
Wuon-Gean Ho is an artist printmaker living and working in London. Her commissions for The Royal Mint draw upon her British Chinese descent, and her experiences both as an artist and fully qualified veterinary surgeon.