Chiwoo Cheonwang is back. The hit KOMSCO bullion medallion series returns for the fifth time with a new design – one sure to please collectors of this series. Depicting a fabled God of War from the regions ancient mythology of the third millennium BCE, Chiwoo (or Chiyou) remains a popular cultural figure on the Korean Peninsula to this day. The bullion medallion is eagerly awaited, and not just within the borders of Korea, but with collectors worldwide.

This fifth design maintains the Dokkaedi-adorned shield that has become a signature design element on most of the range. A closer view of Chiwoo than is usual, he is depicted holding the wide-bladed sword while in a mountainous region, seemingly in a defensive posture. He is guarding the sealed hell gate that will initiate the coming war that Chiwoo Cheonwang is determined to winThe iconic armour, cloak and helmet are all in attendance. It’s a nice change from the full-figure artwork of the last two issues, harking back with a subtle nod to the third issue from 2018.

The series common obverse returns and also carries a Dokkaebi. These are mischievous spirits often hung at both ends of the roof of a building to protect the occupants from evil spirits. The closest parallel parallel in Western culture would be the the hob-goblin. For 2020, the design has been enhanced with complete reimaging of the ‘Gwi-myeon-wa’, now more defined with the addition of horns. It’s based on one currently residing in the National Museum of the Republic of Korea. A very nice improvement. The issuer, composition and faux denomination are inscribed around the edge, and there’s a clever lenticular security-privy that displays either 999 (fineness), or Ag (metal) depending on how you hold the coin.

Unlike in previous years, the gold bullion variant will be available first, with the release date of the silver coin yet to be determined. We live in some challenging times at the moment, so expect to see more delays and changes while the world slowly trudges its way back to what passes for normal. Keep your eye out at the usual stockists, but have patience. Both variants weigh in at a troy ounce (31.1 grams), and news will no doubt come in the next few weeks on the possible appearance of other sizes. This is a popular series for good reason. A rare and interesting subject, with a good mix of designs and relatively limited mintage. This is a great addition to the canon. We said we would do a profile of the series last time, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. It will be up in the next week or so. Probably…

UPDATES: More detail on the design and the 2020 images have been upgraded to better ones

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CHIWOO CHEONWANG: THE LEGEND

In Korea today, Chiwoo, said to be a tribal leader of the nine Li tribe in ancient China, is worshipped as the God of War and is considered one of the three legendary founding fathers of China. In Chinese mythology, he is best known as a king who lost against the future Yellow Emperor during the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors era in Chinese mythology, way back in 2600 BCE.

Like all mythological figures from cultures and times throughout the world, there are numerous incarnations of the figure. According to one legend, Chiwoo had a bronze head with a metal forehead. He had 4 eyes and 6 arms, wielding terrible sharp weapons in every hand. In other sources, Chiwoo had certain features associated with various mythological bovines: his head was that of a bull with two horns, although the body was that of a human. He is said to have been unbelievably fierce, and to have had 81 brothers. Historical sources often described him as ‘cruel and greedy’, as well as ‘tyrannical’.  Chiwoo knows the constellations and the ancients spells for calling upon the weather. He is said to have called upon a fog to surround Huangdi and his soldiers during the Battle of Zhuolu against the Yellow Emperor.

One of the earliest historians in China, Sima Qian, wrote that even the Qin Emperor Qin Shi Huang (the first historical emperor of China) worshipped Chiwoo as the god of war. The founder of the Han Dynasty, Liu Bang, is said to have sacrificed to Chiwoo. There are many competing myths as to which tribe Chiwoo led, but supporters of the South Korean national football team claim it was the Dongyi, who lived close to the Korean peninsula around the 26th century BCE and as a result, Chiwoo is the mascot of the Red Devils supporters club.

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SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION n/a (1 Clay) n/a (1 Clay)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver 0.999 gold
WEIGHT 31.1 grams 31.1 grams
DIMENSIONS 40.0 mm 40.0 mm
FINISH Bullion Bullion
MODIFICATIONS Lenticular mark Lenticular mark
MINTAGE 33,000 1,600
BOX / C.O.A. No / No No / No