To celebrate the Year of the Horse, Australia Post released a Lunar New Year stamp issue featuring the Chinese character for the horse, shown in the $1.80 stamp, and its pictorial representation, shown in the 60c stamp.
The Horse is the seventh sign in the Chinese zodiac and symbolizes strength and animation. The Year of the Horse begins on 31 January 2014.
The miniature sheet tells the story (in Chinese and English) about The Chinese idiom –laomashitu – literally means an old horse knows the way; experience is valuable.
Famous Australians born in the Year of the Horse include the Governor-General Quentin Bryce, playwright David Williamson, horse trainer Gai Waterhouse and actress Kate Ritchie. According to Chinese Astrology they are likely to be intuitive, practical, intelligent, quick-witted, independent and likeable.
Hong Kong-born designer, Dani Poon has been commissioned to illustrate the 12 stamp releases in the current Chinese zodiac. Dani has used paper cut motifs, a popular form of Chinese art, to pictorially represent the horse in the 60c stamp. There is a special gold foil overprinting on the stamps, miniature sheet and zodiac sheetlet.
"The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people's ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. I dare to say the Horse comes right after the Dragon as the favourite sign of the Chinese Zodiac. I am always fascinated by the Terracotta Army – underground sculptures representing the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China. The horse on the 60 cent stamp is inspired by the Terracotta army horses," says Dani.
Australia Post Philatelic Manager, Michael Zsolt says, "This year's Lunar New Year stamp products have been designed in keeping with Chinese traditional design and customs. The products, including the postcard give everyone an opportunity to send wishes of good fortune and health to family and friends, both here and overseas."
A feature of this year's range of products is the Gold Horse miniature sheet. The prestigious pure gold sheet comes in an attractive glass and timber stand.
Products associated with this stamp issue include a miniature sheet, zodiac sheetlet, first day cover, stamp pack which can double as a Lunar New Year greeting card, postcard, gutter strip of 10 x 60c stamps with design, domestic and international postage paid envelopes and a prestige booklet. A postal and numismatic cover housing an uncirculated $1 Perth Mint coin is also available.