The Chinese zodiac, represented by twelve animals, is an integral part of traditional Chinese culture. The practice of using the zodiac animals to mark the years dates back to the first century A.D. Since ancient times, the twelve zodiac animals have been widely depicted in art and craft items. 2014 is the Year of the Horse. Hongkong Post presents the third Lunar New Year special stamp issue in the fourth series, featuring a set of four stamps portraying horses in different art forms to highlight the theme of the Year of the Horse.
$1.70 – Fabric art, a traditional Chinese handicraft, is paper-cutting, embroidery and craftsmanship put together. A lively pony made of colourful floral patchwork fabric is depicted on the stamp, lending a note of joyous festivity.
$2.90 – Wood-carving, a kind of folk handicraft, goes back to ancient times. It is an art which calls for precision and finesse. Vividly carved, the lifelike wooden horse on the stamp captures both the contours and the spirit of its real counterpart and demonstrates exquisite craftsmanship.
$3.70 – Metal sculpture has a long history in China. Bronze ware was abundant in the Shang and Zhou Dynasties. The stamp features an equine sculpture forged out of stainless steel. With graceful lines, the sculpture shows the beauty of a horse in motion, manifesting an oriental contemporary art style to the full.
$5 – Lacquer ware refers to objects made of wood or other materials and coated with lacquer. China was the first country in the world to produce lacquer ware. In ancient Chinese mythology, the sea horse is an emblem of auspiciousness. The stamp highlights a spirited lacquer-painted sea horse.
The stamp sheetlet showcases a puppet used in traditional Chinese shadow puppetry. Shadow puppetry is a kind of theatrical folk art. The puppets are usually carved out of animal hides. During the show, the shadows of the puppets are projected on a translucent cloth screen illuminated from behind. Stories are acted out with the play of light and shadow. The stamp sheetlet features a vibrant horse in shadow puppetry. Embellished with auspicious motifs in a multitude of colours, the horse is placed against a backdrop full of Lunar New Year blossoms to set off the joyous atmosphere. For this special occasion, Hongkong Post additionally releases a silk stamp sheetlet. A symbol of nobility and elegance, silk is ideal for adding grandeur to the majestic creature, heralding a blissful Year of the Horse.
Stamp products include mint stamps, stamp sheets, stamp sheetlet, silk stamp sheetlet, presentation pack and postage prepaid lunar new year greeting cards. Serviced first day cover is also available at the philatelic offices on the issue day only.