The Two Qiao’s are the third figures in the beautiful ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’ inspired silver coin series

Chinese mythology seems to have taken over from the Greek, Roman and Norse gods as the subject of choice in the expansive world of ancient myths and legends coins. A distinctive visual style and a cast relatively unknown outside of Asia, has meant they’ve become very popular with collectors. One of the early entrants into the genre was the Pela Coins / Mint of Poland series that looks at the epic Chinese novel, ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’ and it relationship to actual historical events.

The first two coins focused on the most widely known and powerful central characters, Zhao Yun and Lyu Bu, but in an interesting departure from the usual warriors, sword and horses, this third annual release turns its attention to some of the important supporting figures of the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, based on the ‘Records of the Three Kingdoms’, written by Chen Shou in the third century. The Qiao sisters were characters within, one married to a warlord, another to a general. I’d love to go into more detail, but the complex and contradictory story around the whole period isn’t easily interpreted, so lets get on to the coin.

In a word, gorgeous. It marks such a pleasant change of pace to eschew the usual bombast and go for something far more elegant. The artist is clearly enjoying themselves here, packing this out from centre to edge with tons of fine detail and neat historical touches. The sisters are beautifully posed and the subtle colour of the butterfly is a super focal point for the eye. For me personally, easily one of the nicest designs I’ve seen based around Asian mythology and history. I look forward to seeing the finished coin images.

The common obverse is back, which despite having to carry the effigy of Liz Tu, is still equally packed with Asian-inspired artwork. We do like what the Mint of Poland does with the Niue obverse on many of its series. No prizes for guessing the format. A 2 oz 0.999 silver coin, antique-finished, rimless and struck to a high-relief. Over the life of AgAuNEWS, this has turned out to be an excellent balance of cost and designability, so thanks to the Perth Mint for its Gods of Olympus series for showing the potential. Boxed with a C.O.A., this should be available to order any time now, with shipping in early 2021, assuming Coroney keeps a low profile, of course. We’ll add this one to our extensive round up of the various series.

THE TWO QIAO’S

The Two Qiaos of Jiangdong were two sisters of the Qiao family who lived during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China.

The Qiao sisters’ names were not recorded in history, so in later times they are simply referred to as Da Qiao (literally “older Qiao”) and Xiao Qiao (literally “younger Qiao”). They were from Wan County, Lujiang Commandery, which is in present-day Anqing, Anhui. Da Qiao married the warlord Sun Ce, who established the foundation of the state of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period; Xiao Qiao married Zhou Yu, a general who served under Sun Ce and later under his successor Sun Quan. Sun Ce jokingly told Zhou Yu: “Although Elder Qiao’s daughters are exceptionally beautiful, with us as their husbands, it should be a happy enough match.”

The Qiao sisters are featured as characters in the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which romanticises the historical events before and during the Three Kingdoms period. In the novel, the Chinese character for “Qiao” in their names, 橋/桥, is replaced with 喬/乔.

In the novel, the Qiao sisters are the daughters of a certain Qiao Guolao (喬國老; literally “State Elder Qiao”), possibly referring to Qiao Xuan. Zhou Yu’s biography in the third-century historical text Records of the Three Kingdoms did not mention the name of the Qiao sisters’ father, who was simply referred to as Qiao Gong (橋公; literally “Elder Qiao” or “Lord Qiao”). Historically, Qiao Xuan died in 184, while the Qiao sisters married Sun Ce and Zhou Yu around 199, so it was not possible that Qiao Xuan was still living when the marriages took place. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that Qiao Xuan was the “Qiao Gong” mentioned in Zhou Yu’s biography.

In Chapter 44 of the novel, Zhuge Liang tells Zhou Yu that Cao Cao’s desire to have the Two Qiaos for himself is evident in “Ode to the Bronze Sparrow Platform” (銅雀臺賦), a poem written by Cao Cao’s son Cao Zhi. An enraged Zhou Yu then hardens his decision to convince Sun Quan to ally with Liu Bei against Cao Cao. (WIKIPEDIA)

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $5 NZD (Niue)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
DIMENSIONS 45.0 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Ultra high-relief, Colour
MINTAGE 500
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes
PELA COINS