With its "Chinese Signs of the Zodiac" series Philately Liechtenstein seeks to draw special attention to the friendly relations between the Principality of Liechtenstein and the People's Republic of China. Following the two stamps marking the "Year of the Dragon" (2011) and the "Year of the Snake" (2012), the focus this year is on the sign of the Zodiac for the coming Chinese year: the "Year of the Horse" (face value CHF 1.90).
Since the People's Republic of China was established in 1949 China has officially used the Gregorian calendar adopted from the West (counting the years from the birth of Christ). This replaced the Chinese calendar which had been in place for 2000 years, but which nowadays remains in use only for calculating traditional holidays such as the "Dragon Boat Festival", the "Moon Festival" and the "Double Nine Festival". For followers of Chinese astrology it is also the calculation basis for identifying "favourable" days on which to hold feasts and celebrations. The traditional Chinese year always begins at the second new moon after the winter solstice, i.e. between 21st January and 21st February. Moreover, in a fixed annual cycle each year is assigned one of the twelve signs of the zodiac with its associated character traits. The Year of the Horse begins on 31st January 2014 and lasts until 18th February 2015. People born in the Year of the Horse are generally very popular. They may be considered restless, but always radiate geniality. They plan their lives on a longterm basis, are clever and have a lot of artistic talent. Since the horse also represents financial security, a relatively peaceful year is to be expected. As always, the stamp's design was placed in the reliable hands of Stefan Erne. It is appearing as a silhouette produced by laser technology, an innovation being that the entire 4-stamp sheet has been cut out in the shape of a horse. As for the other stamps in this series, the typography has been executed by hot stamping on gold foil.