A set of special stamps on the theme of "Year of the Horse" were released on 11 January 2014 (Saturday) by Hongkong Post. The "Gold and Silver Stamp Sheetlet on Lunar New Year Animals – Snake/Horse" and "Heartwarming Stamps (2014 Version) "Year of the Horse" Mini-panes" were also issued on the same day.
Year of the Horse
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.
Gold and Silver Stamp Sheetlet on Lunar New Year Animals – Snake/Horse
The setting off of firecrackers bids farewell to the Year of the Snake and ushers in the Year of the Horse. The Chinese have, for a long time, used the Chinese zodiac animals to mark the years. In traditional Chinese culture, the snake is a symbol of luck, longevity and wealth, while the horse stands for a wise man and a person of talent. The horse also symbolises a determination to succeed and constant efforts to become stronger.
Hongkong Post celebrates this Lunar New Year by issuing the Gold and Silver Stamp Sheetlet on Lunar New Year Animals depicting the Snake and the Horse, to express wishes for a peaceful and prosperous year ahead. Gold and silver ware has a special appeal for Chinese people. Glittering gold and shining silver, symbols of prestige and nobility, are used for production of the stamps on Lunar New Year Animals to herald a new year.
As the second Lunar New Year Gold and Silver stamp issue in the second series released by Hongkong Post, this stamp sheetlet consists of two stamps, one featuring the Snake and the other the Horse, both in a denomination of $50. The Snake stamp is hot-foiled with silver, while the Horse stamp is affixed with 22K gold-plated lace metal.
The main background colours of golden yellow, orange-red and emerald green of the stamp sheetlet set off the strong festive ambience. Coming with a certificate of authenticity, the stamp sheetlet is a perfect collectible.