Also known as the spring festival, Chinese New Year is the oldest Chinese festival and the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. It signals the start of new life and the season of ploughing and sowing.
Chinese months correspond with the lunar calendar; the first day of Chinese New Year is always between January 21st and February 21st, coinciding with the first new moon - the darkest day - between these two dates.
The Sheng Xiao, also known in English as the Chinese zodiac, is a system which relates each year in the Chinese calendar to one of twelve animals comprising rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. In several East Asian countries the scheme remains popular and some believe that people born in a particular year will have some of the characteristics of the animal.
31 January 2014 marks the start of the next Chinese New Year when the animal sign will be the horse. For 2014 it is the Year of the Wood Horse and, according to the Chinese zodiac, people born in this year will exude strength and stability, which is reflected in the strong designs of our stamps.
Date of issue: 8 January 2014
Designer: Chrissy Lau
Values: 40p, 53p, 55p, 63p, 71p, 79p
Process: Offset Lithography
Stamp sizes: 30.5mm deep x
Sheet size: 100mm deep x
Paper: 100gsm unwatermarked
40p – With his head facing backwards, the horse is reminiscing on the previous year, whilst his raised front leg signifies his readiness for the year ahead. The cloud pattern is one of the oldest patterns in Chinese art & architecture.
53p – The horse is galloping confidently and directly into the future. The pattern is inspired by the endless knot which symbolises longevity in Chinese folk tradition, which is associated with Buddhism.
55p – An energetic kicking horse inspired by Chinese brush paintings. A popular depiction in Chinese art, the galloping horse has its head turned back and shows a strong kick of the back leg.
63p - This horse is deep in thought and humble with its head bowed. It represents the sensitive nature of those born in the Year of the Horse. The scale pattern is a familiar design used in Chinese art.
71p - People born in the year of the horse exude strength and stability - this horse depicts these qualities with this powerful stance - rearing to the future. The floral patterns are inspired by Chinese tapestries and ceramics.
77p - A familiar theme in Chinese art and brush paintings, the eight horse design has gained a strong cultural significance in Chinese culture since the number eight symbolises wealth and success.
Our sets are supplied in a robust glassine bag. You may decide to place the stamps in a special album in order to preserve their mint condition (see Albums and Binders section).
If you're a new stamp collector we would recommend you pause and make a few decisions which will help if you decide later to collect seriously.
Mint stamps (otherwise known as unused) have never been cancelled or affixed to anything. They will be in the same pristine condition as they were when they left the printer.