Fourth issue of the Majestic Maple...
This "fantastic" coin is issued by the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus in 2008. It celebrates the legendary tales of "Turandot" a play written by Carlo Gozzi in 1871.
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On the coin's reverse is a stylized depiction of the miracles and mystery of the princes Turandot, the earth the tree of life, the image of Lion of Adria, the image of fairy palace and on the right at the top a crystal of bright orange colour which represents the sun, one more mystery of the princes Turandot. In a semi-circle around the top of the coin there are the Russian words for "Turandot".
The obverse of the coin is the standard for the series "Fairy Tailes", with only the year of issue being different. It portrays two young children sitting upon a crescent moon reading from an open book that sits upon their laps. Above the children is the emblem for the Republic of Belarus. Below them is the year of issue, 2008. In a semi circle around the top half are the words for the Republic of Belarus. In a semi-circle around the bottom of the coin there are the words for Twenty Rubles.
THE LEGEND OF TURANDOT
The legend of Turandot first appeared in Europe in Eighteenth Century in a collection of tales called a Thousand and one days by Fancois Petis de la Croix. It is best known in the theatre in treatments by Carlo Gozzi, Schiller, and of course Puccini.
Princess Turandot, wise and cruel, is the protagonist of an oriental tale from the 13th century at an imperial palace in Peking, China. Turandot is the ultimate ice princess. She is extremely beautiful, and many princes want to marry her. In fact, The Prince of Tartary wants to marry her. She forces men who pursue her to answer three riddles.
The Prince of Tartary must answer Turandot’s three riddles or else he will be beheaded. Here are the three riddles:
“What is born each night and dies each dawn?”
“What flickers red and warm like a flame, but is not fire?”
“What is like ice, but burns like fire?”
The Prince answers all three riddles correctly: Hope, Blood and Turandot. Turandot is still hesitant to marry and begs her father to avoid marriage. The Prince comes up with this proposal, if she finds out what his name is by the next day’s sunrise, he will place his life in her hands and be killed, just like the other princes who unsuccessfully answered the riddles.
Turandot searches high and low to find out the Prince’s name to avoid marrying him. She brings in a slave girl named Liù, who is secretly in love with the prince. She refuses to divulge his name, saying instead that his named is “Love”. Liù the slave girl kills herself and Princess Turandot still hasn’t found out his name.
So far the Prince is victorious. Turandot still doesn’t know his name at sunrise. He tries to convince her to love him, but she’s disgusted at first. But more and more, she is starting to feel emotions for him. She asks for him to leave.
The Prince tells Turandot his name: “Calaf, son of Timur”, thereby placing his life in Turandot’s hands. At this choice, Turandot decides that she will keep him. She declares that she knows the Prince’s name: “It is love!”