"Happiness Longevity Luck Coin"
The "I-Ching" (also known as the "Book of Changes") originates from China. With a history of over 3,000 years, it was one of the most important Chinese classical texts used by the ancient Chinese emperors to guide the rule of their kingdoms and manage state affairs. The I-Ching was also used as the base for Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist thoughts by the ancient Chinese scholars, and is still referred to today in philosophical discussions about the arts, sciences, and theology. The I-Ching is seen as a manual for living a moral life in that it interprets the principles of yin and yang. Yin and yang is the eastern concept of the dualistic and ever-shifting nature of the universe which should be kept in balance for everything to go right in our lives and in our world. However lofty this may sound, it is wisdom that can be practiced by anyone.
Chi-Jen Liu has studied the I-Ching since childhood. "Happiness Longevity Luck Coin" showcases ways in which this ancient divination manual offers blessings for a life passage brimming with happiness, prosperity, and longevity. Each of the circular vignettes feature cornerstones of a man's life. On the right, two young men wish each other good luck as they set off on their journeys to become powerful and famous. The man on the left is in traditional military attire and the man on the right is dressed as a scholarly official. The I-Ching vignette at the bottom shows a middle-aged man reaching his career goals. His accomplishment is represented by the red fish he has caught while the goat and monkey – symbolic of productivity and creativity – cheer him on. Finally, on the left, we see two older men enjoying retirement. One man savors rice wine under the shade of a "jade tree," reminiscing with his friend. His friend listens attentively, with one foot resting on the "longevity turtle," to symbolize his arrival to the golden years of life.
The Chinese coin in the center contains powerful mantra charms for health, enlightenment, wealth, and peace. Chi-Jen Liu adorns it with a golden banner inscribed with the "Dreams Come True" mantra charm. This particular mantra charm is frequently used in his work as a divine blessing to enable your success.
In the time of imperial China – more than 2,000 years ago – silver or gold ingots, called "yuanbao," were the accepted form of money. With the arrival of standardized currency, the coin became most common. The ancient Chinese coin was round with a squared hole in the middle. A cord could be threaded through the coin holes, allowing payment or gifting to be efficient and easily carried.
The coin is universally accepted as a symbol for wealth. In feng shui, ancient Chinese coins and ingots are strategically placed around the home or workplace because they are regarded as magnets of financial success and monetary reward. Chinese ingots and coins are displayed during Lunar New Year festivities to represent the arrival of good fortune in the year to come. Sculptures of ingot-bearing deities can be found inside temples as well as household altars. In honor of one's ancestors and to wish them a rich afterlife, gold or silver ingots made from folded paper are burned as offerings during Chinese festivals.
In response to the wishes of his clientele during his many decades of work as a feng shui master, Chi-Jen Liu created an extensive series of paintings that embody blessings for the attainment of fortune. The "Coin Series" is laden with ancient Chinese symbols of prosperity. Coins are arranged in Taoist astrological patterns, given center stage like a radiant sun, or pictured as a manifestation of beneficent powers. This ever-growing series currently includes paintings from the past 20 years.