To promote appreciation of the beauty of ancient Chinese art, Chunghwa Post has specially selected five paintings from the National Palace Museum collection that feature children at play for a set of five stamps. Two of the paintings are attributed to Su Hanchen, who served at the Imperial Painting Academy during the late Northern Song Dynasty and then again in the Southern Song after the capital moved south. The artists who created the other three are unknown. According to the info got by Stampnews.com, the design of stamps is following:
1. “Children at Play Bathing a Buddha,” Su Hanchen, Song dynasty, hanging scroll (NT$5): Four children in a garden bathe a statue of the Buddha. Three of them are either holding the base of the statue in his hands, a bottle of scented water or a bowl of flowers.
The other one is clasping his hands together in prayer. Each child’s expression is painted with great care and seems quite life-like.
2. “Children Playing in an Autumn Garden,” Su Hanchen, Song dynasty, hanging scroll (NT$5): In a garden with a decorative rock, the colorful chrysanthemums and hibiscus suggest an autumnal mood.
A boy and a girl stand around a table, intently playing a game with dates. Toys, including a rotary wheel, are scattered atop another table, and a pair of cymbals lies on the ground. The work is exquisitely and vividly detailed.
3. “Children Playing in Summer,” anonymous, Yuan dynasty, hanging scroll (NT$10): Near a weeping willow and decorative rocks, two children hold up a small table on which various offerings have been placed. Another three children either hold a lotus leaf parasol, a branch of pomegranate blossoms, or a fan decorated with the Five Pestilences associated with the Double Fifth Festival.
In the foreground, one boy leads a toad on a string as another happily joins in the fun. The scene conveys a sense of childlike innocence and playful exuberance.
4. “Children Playing in Autumn,” anonymous, Yuan dynasty, hanging scroll (NT$10): Under a bright autumn moon, six children wearing embroidered clothing play by trees and rocks, holding flowers, carrying baskets, or playing with a rabbit.
A platter full of fruit conveys a strong sense of autumn.
5. “Children Playing in Winter,” anonymous, Yuan dynasty, hanging scroll (NT$12): Four Children are shown playing. One rides a goat and three are dressed up as northern nomads. They respectively hold an umbrella, a Buddhist statue, and plum blossoms.
A plum tree in magnificent bloom indicates the New Year’s season, whereas three white goats symbolize felicity and peace.