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Auspicious Coin with the Twelve Astrological Emblems

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Period: Song dynasty (960–1279)
Dimensions: Diameter: 7.5 cm

This auspicious coin (yasheng qian, also known as an exorcism coin) has a round hole in the center, which is surrounded by an inner loop with the twelve characters that represent the twelve earthly branches (dizhi). The outer loop features the twelve astrological emblems that correspond to the twelve characters. The two loops are divided by another loop decorated with a geometrical design. The opposite side of the coin features an ornamental tablet with the inscription “The Zhang Celestial Masters” (Zhang tianshi) and a scene of one of the celestial masters (all successive members of a family with the surname Zhang) vanquishing an evil spirit. Auspicious coins were placed in tombs to ward off evil.

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