10 euro - The Peony

Image of 10 euro coin - The Peony | Austria 2024
Lasting just seven to ten days, the flowers that emerge from the spherical bud of the peony are a thing of wonder, so we should appreciate the ephemeral beauty of the flower while we can In the language of flowers, the peony symbolises good fortune and happiness and is associated with brightness, prosperity, boldness and honour. The flower also has other symbolic associations, including compassion, love, beauty and female fertility. In England, the peony is sometimes referred to as the ‘rose royale’ and the Chinese word for peony, shaoyao, means ‘the most beautiful’. Peonies have been painted by many European artists, including Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and Édouard Manet, and the opulent beauty of the peony has long been a popular subject in Chinese and Japanese literature, painting and decoration. A Chinese legend has it that a capricious empress commanded all the flowers in her garden to blossom at the same time. All acquiesced apart from the peony. Annoyed by the flower’s refusal, the empress banished it to the coldest reaches of the empire, yet despite the inhospitable environment, the peony thrived. The empress, duly impressed, allowed the peony to return, declaring it the ‘queen of all flowers’. Depicting happiness and joy, the coin’s obverse shows a smiling young woman whose hair is adorned with laurel and pearls. To the right of her head is a curved cornucopia from which peony calyxes and coins are pouring. The coin’s reverse features three imprints of real peonies in different stages of flower, behind them a band of stylised peonies. None of the principal flower images in the series is based on a drawing or illustration. The starting point of every coin design is a real flower grown in the garden, which is then pressed using a special technique that captures the flower in its natural state.