Erlang Shen, the three-eyed god of Chinese mythology, kicks off a new silver coin series

We’re seeing some outstanding mythology coins released on the market of late, but surprisingly, very few have a Far Eastern theme. Sure, there are plenty of dragon coins, but very little that dips into the rich pantheon of deities that populated early thought amongst these ancient civilisations. Singapore based SK Bullion are looking to change that with the release of Erlang Shen, a coin depicting the legendary three-eyed god of Chinese legend.

The specification fits in perfectly with the genre norm – two ounces of fine silver struck to a high-relief, antique-finished and with some selective highlighting, in this case gilding. The reverse face depicts Erlang Shen with his celestial hound beside him. The background is packed with Chinese architecture. The lance and his cloak are gilded, which should stand out well against a dark background. A neat border surrounds the dynamic artwork.

Issued for Niue and carrying a $5 NZD denomination, the obverse thus carries the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. Presentation looks neat. A gloss black coin box with a certificate of authenticity sits inside a coloured and themed shipper. The mintage is set at just 500 pieces and we’d imagine a large proportion of these will go to the Chinese market where the character has greatest resonance.

It’s good to see characters like these break into what has been a quite Euro-centric genre and this looks to be a good first effort from SK Bullion. With the current popularity of the Chiwoo Cheonwang series of bullion rounds, it’s clear there’s a brisk appetite for Far Eastern deity coins and this goes some way to satisying the higher end of the market. Price should be just shy of $200 at launch, and it should be available to order shortly.


Erlang Shen (二郎神), or Erlang is a Chinese God with a third truth-seeing eye in the middle of his forehead. He may be a deified version of several semi-mythical folk heroes who help regulate China’s torrential floods, dating variously from the Qin, Sui and Jin dynasties. A later Buddhist source identify him as the second son of the Northern Heavenly King Vaishravana. In the Ming semi-mythical novels Creation of the Gods and Journey to the West Erlang Shen is the nephew of the Jade Emperor. In the former he assisted the Zhou army in defeating the Shang. In the latter, he is the second son of a mortal and Jade emperor’s brother. In the legend, he is known as the greatest warrior god of heaven.

In popular culture, Erlang Shen is mostly portrayed as a noble and powerful Warrior God who slays and vanquishes Demons and Monsters in the mortal realm and who embodies justice and righteousness. He is shown to have vast, superhuman strength, being able to cleave an entire mountain with his axe to save his mother in just one stroke and being capable of 72 Transformations, meaning he can transform into virtually anything he wants.

His main weapon of choice is his “three-pointed, double-edged Lance”, a long three-pointed Spear with two cutting edges of a Saber. This Spear is powerful enough to penetrate and cleave through steel and stone like wool. Erlang wields the Lance with unmatched skill and superior mastery, being an unstoppable force of destruction in battle when wielding said Lance, and has slain countless Gods and massive armies of Demons with it. He is almost always accompanied by his faithful ‘Howling Celestial Dog’, which has the ability to attack and subdue Demons and evil spirits.

Erlang Shen has also been portrayed as possessing a unique skill known as the “Nine Turns Divine Skill”. It grants him vast, physical durability of undefined limits and nigh-invulnerability to conventional weapons and various magic spells. In the novel “Creation of the Gods”, Erlang was shown to be completely impervious to hits from various powerful mystical objects due to this skill; he has emerged completely unscathed from mystical weapons and artifacts that have proven capable of severely injuring or even killing other Immortals.

Erlang Shen, as a God that embodies justice, can execute ‘Heaven’s Punishment, by calling down countless massive, devastating bolts of Holy Lightning to strike and totally disintegrate evil beings.

COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Gilded highlights
BOX / COA Yes / Yes