Kunqu Opera, one of the oldest extant forms of Chinese traditional opera, was born in the late Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) in Kunshan, Jiangsu Province, and prevailed during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) periods. Like an elegant "orchid" in the garden of Chinese operas, it features a variety of plays, diverse roles, pleasant melodies, and beautiful dancing. Occupying an important position in Chinese history of literature, drama, music and dance, Kunqu is honored as the "Mother of All Operas." In 2001, the art form was listed by UNESCO as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Representative plays, such as "Washing the Silken Gauze," "The Peony Pavilion," and "The Palace of Long Life," greatly promoted the development and spread of the opera in different historical periods.
China National Philatelic Corporation will release a FDC.
Running Script (Xing Shu), a calligraphy style that is semi-regular and semi-cursive, originated in the Han Dynasty (206B.C.-220A.D.), and became mature during the Wei (220-265) and Jin (265-420) dynasties. It simplifies the strokes of Regular Script (Kai Shu), transforms the patterns of Regular Script, and loosens the structure of Regular Script, thus being more applicable and practical to daily life compared to Regular Script and Cursive Script (Cao Shu). The "Preface to the Orchid Pavilion," in running script on paper, is a calligraphic work by Wang Xizhi (303-361), now in the collection of Beijing Palace Museum. It is said that Wang invited friends to gather at the Orchid Pavilion on the outskirts of Shanyin in Kuaiji (present-day Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province), where they drank wine and composed poems for an anthology, to which Wang wrote the preface. The calligraphy features vigorous strokes, an unconstrained structure, and a graceful style, vividly representing the new form initiated by Wang Xizhi. It produced a profound influence upon Chinese calligraphy in the following generations.
China National Philatelic Corporation issued a set of three first-day covers carrying a set of six special stamps