20 euro - Europe – the Wisdom of the Owl
Series: Austria - The Eyes of the World
Few natural experiences are as otherworldly as the sight of the penetrating golden-yellow eyes of an owl staring through the pitch darkness. This sensation is brought to life on The Wisdom of the Owl, the second coin in the five-piece Eyes of the World series, with the help of shining Swarovski® crystals that enhance the animal’s already mythical quality. Despite the nocturnal hunter’s ability to turn its oversized head by up to 270 degrees, the all-knowing serenity it projects as it sits otherwise motionless on a branch is uncannily reminiscent of the elderly members of our own species. This may be why we humans have always recognised ourselves in the owl. The light of wisdom seems to shine in the bird’s eyes, to the extent that it used to be believed that the owl produced light itself, its eyes like round windows magically illuminating the darkness. Equating light with wisdom stems from the Western worldview, which since time immemorial has pitched the light of reason in a struggle against the forces of darkness. The coin’s reverse is dominated by the stylised face of an owl with eyes of multi-faceted golden-yellow shining crystals by Swarovski®, while the coin’s obverse features an owl sitting on a branch, from which it looks down, patiently and persistently, in search of its prey. The bird is surrounded by decorations reminiscent of ancient Greek ornaments.