The wealth of legends that account for the naming of the years in the Chinese Lunar Calendar's 12-year cycle lend an imaginative quality to what has been deemed the oldest surviving calendar system in the world. And on January 8, Canada Post will issue a stamp and souvenir sheet celebrating The Year of the Rat, the final year of a 12-year series.
While exploring the wealth of imagery relating to this issue, Naomi Broudo, Creative Director, and Violet Finvers, Art Director of BC's Tandem Design Associates Ltd., came across "The Mouse Bride," a peculiar Chinese folk tale that embodied and brought to life the key characteristics of the Rat year. Central to the stamps and souvenir sheet are three themes: Love, Skill and New Beginnings. "It was up to illustrator Harvey Chan to bring the tale to life", said Broudo. "He brought a wealth of artistic experience: his Chinese heritage, combined with the intense research he undertook, lent a high degree of authenticity to the design." The emboss-deboss techniques, along with the gold and pearl foil on the stamps and souvenir sheet, add to the sense of celebration around which the concept is built. In the light, flecks of gold seem to flicker thanks to the multi-layered embossing.