Nature’s playful ambassador of friendship: The peaceful panda
Giant pandas are enduring Chinese symbols of peace and friendship — renowned for strength, resilience and a gentle temperament. Their black-and-white fur is often associated with yin and yang, the balancing of opposites central in Chinese philosophy.
For their prized place in the culture of China, giant pandas have played a unique role for members of the animal kingdom: as ambassadors of goodwill. That legacy is celebrated on a new $8 Fine Silver coin from the Royal Canadian Mint.
The art of panda diplomacy
During the Tang Dynasty, in the seventh century, Chinese Empress Wu Zetian gifted two pandas to the Japanese Emperor, marking the beginning of what’s come to be known as “panda diplomacy”.
The tradition has continued down through the ages. Following President Nixon’s historic visit in 1972, at a time when China was beginning to open up its borders and cultivate diplomatic relations with the West, the country sent two pandas to the United States.
More recently, China began sending pandas on 10-year loans to various countries as part of conservation and breeding efforts — including a pair to Canada, Da Mao and Er Shun, in 2013.
With fewer than 2,000 giant pandas remaining in the wild, these gentle giants have become an important emblem for conservation. They’ve graced the logo of the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) since its foundation in 1961, and were first animals protected in China after the WWF was invited to work in the country.
The two pandas on loan to Canada grew up as part of China’s highly successful conservation and breeding program, which has helped see the panda downgraded from “endangered” to “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Happily, two years after their arrival here, Da Mao and Er Shun had a pair of cubs, Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue, the first pandas ever born in Canada.
A celebration in silver
The new Peaceful Panda coin features a gorgeous, selective-colour representation of the panda in three quarter view, sitting and eating in a field of grasses and wildflowers. Beside the image are the Chinese characters for “friendship,” acknowledging the gift of goodwill represented by the giant panda.
$8 FINE SILVER PEACEFUL PANDA
The coin comes packaged in an artistic folder-style packaging with an easel that pops out, allowing for easy display of a gorgeous gift of friendship.