People's Republic of China, 5 Yuan 1985

From the beginning of the 1980s the Peoples Republic of China annually mints commemoration coins that depict historical events or personalities. This coin bears the image of the poet and politician Qu Yuan (*c. 340 BC, †278 BC). Qu Yuan lived in the kingdom of Chu as a renowned magistrate and a patriotic poet. Regarding the growing military power of the neighboring kingdom of Qin, Qu Yuan emphasized the necessity to build up national troops and to arm and train them. But some noblemen opposed this point of view. Intrigues were instigated, and finally Qu Yuan was deposed from office by the king of Chu and driven out of the capital. Qu Yuan wrote several poems during his exile, in which he worried about his people and his country. And really, in 278 BC, Qin soldiers subjugated the capital of Chu. Qu Yuan composed his last poem, then he threw himself into death: Legend has it that he drowned himself in a nearby river on the 5th day of the 5th month.