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Black Tortoise

2 oz Pure Silver Coin – Republique du Tchad 2021 – 10000 Francs CFA

The Four Auspicious Beasts (四象) are four mythological creatures with deep roots in Chinese history and culture. In ancient Chinese astronomy, the constellations were studied to understand the movement of the sun and moon, in order to determine the seasons and time. It is believed that these Four Auspicious Beasts appeared amongst the constellations as the guardians of the Four Cardinal Directions. Surrounded by a plethora of mythical associations and legends, each of them represents a different season and direction as determined by their positions in the skies. Artifacts featuring The Four Auspicious Beasts are highly sought after, as they are thought to bring wealth and fortune to its bearer.

Representing Winter and the cardinal direction of the North is the Black Tortoise. Also known as Xuán Wǔ (玄武) in Chinese, Black Turtle or Black Tortoise of the North, it is usually depicted as a snake coiled around the body of a tortoise. It is the belief of ancient Chinese that the tortoise and snake are spiritual creatures that symbolize longevity – the tortoise being representative of resilience and tenacity, and the snake illustrating vitality and intelligence. 

In this piece, the Black Tortoise stands strong with dominance amidst choppy waters and strong waves to claim its association with the element of Water. The tortoiseshell and skin of the snake surfaces beautifully on the surface with ornate detail, brought to life on a super ultra-high relief. Both their jaws are open with teeth bared as a show of the Black Tortoise’s powers. A layer of gold is carefully gilded onto the Black Tortoise’s Chinese name and the title of the series to match its prowess and stature as one of the four Auspicious Beasts. An ancient Chinese constellation map sits on its obverse surrounding an octagon shape inspired by the yin-yang elements that houses the legal tender, the Coat of Arms du Tchad.

Through the use of a new minting technique called “Bi-Metal Reverse”, this piece achieves a remarkable weight and 80mm diameter size – making it double the size of a regular 2 oz collectible. By combining 2 oz of pure silver as a base with a top layer of 11.5 oz of copper, the result is a super ultra-high relief that brings out every detail to maximum effect, then finished with antiqued silver to conclude.