China Post issued a set of six special stamps featuring the Twenty-Four Solar Terms, namely the Beginning of Autumn, the Limit of Heat, White Dew, the Autumnal Equinox, Cold Dew and Frost's Descent, with a denomination of 7.2 yuan (0.055 U.S. dollars), on August 7, 2018.
The Twenty-Four Solar Terms are the knowledge hierarchy and social practice of astronomical phenomena, phenology, seasons and natural changes for Chinese people. The ancient Chinese people divided the track of the annual movement of the sun into 24 equal parts, each of which was a solar term. All of them were collectively referred to as the twenty-four solar terms.
The twenty-four solar terms are not only an important vehicle of Chinese cultural identity, but also a vivid testimony to human cultural diversity. In 2016, the twenty-four solar terms were officially inscribed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The Beginning of Autumn is the 13th solar term. According to Chinese custom, people usually have more delicious food to pack on a few pounds during this period. Thus, the stamp shows a warm scene where family members sit around a table, enjoying delicacies.
The Limit of Heat is the 14th solar term. Warm days and cool nights are conducive to the growth of crops in this time. Also, people in some areas have begun to harvest. The stamp features farmers taking care of their crops.
White Dew is the 15th solar term. Due to the maximum temperature difference between day and night, it is advisable to exercise sufficiently to keep fit. The stamp displays some elderly persons and children boxing and keeping fit.
The Autumnal Equinox is the 16th solar term. This is when farming activities reach their peak in autumn. At this time, persimmons are ripe in some areas. The stamp depicts an old man leading children to collect persimmons, signifying that everything is safe and sound.
Cold Dew is the 17th solar term. Most areas in China have entered autumn. In people’s daily lives, it is common to prepare thick clothes. The stamp displays a tailor custom-making clothes for his customers.
Frost's Descent is the 18th solar term. Maples, yellow oak and other trees begin to turn reddish yellow. Because their color looks like fire, they are very spectacular, inviting people to admire their beauty. In the stamp, visitors are enjoying the red autumn leaves, unwilling to leave.
This set of stamps was designed by member of the China Artists Association Liu Jingui and vice chief designer of the Postage Stamp Printing Bureau (PSPB) of China Post Group Wang Huming, and was printed by the Beijing Stamp Printing House using a heliographic printing process.
Offer for sale: This set of stamps is available at designated postal outlets, the online philatelic shop of China Post (http://jiyou.11185.cn), China Philately mobile client and the China Philately Wechat Mall since they were issued on August 7, 2018. This set of stamps will be sold for six months.
China Post issued a set of four special stamps featuring Four Landscape Sceneries as well as a souvenir sheet, namely Spring Scenery, Summer Scenery, Autumn Scenery and Winter Scenery, with a denomination of 10 yuan (1.465 U.S. dollars), on August 4, 2018.
The Four Landscape Sceneries were painted by Liu Songnian, one of the Four Masters of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1276), using ink and pigment on silk. They are 40 cm in length and 69 cm in width, and part of the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing.
The set of stamps features spring, summer, autumn and winter sceneries. The colors are in keeping with the individual seasons. They are considered masterpieces by Liu Songnian, which combines Jiehua and the seasonal landscapes perfectly. Jiehua, or boundary painting, draws on community palaces, pavilions, houses and other buildings as a theme and is the accurate depiction of architectural forms with the aid of a ruler.
The Spring Scenery features a manor along an embankment, where peach and plum trees vie with one another in the splendor of their blossoms. The willow trees are shady and the mountains are misty, all of which show that spring is in the air.
The Summer Scenery shows a lakeside pavilion, in front of which the lake shore is embellished with flowers and trees. The pavilion extends into the lake. It has the charm of the Bai Causeway of the West Lake. In the picture, a master sits in the atrium and enjoys the view, with a servant standing beside him.
The Autumn Scenery displays leaves of an old tree turning red and purple after frost. A courtyard is fringed with trees and stones, and a bridge leads to serenity. In the courtyard, the windows are bright and clean. An old man sits alone and restores his spirit. There is a servant fetching water and cooking tea for him.
The Winter Scenery focuses on a lakeside courtyard house. At a distance there are straight pine trees. Bamboos, mountains, stones, roofs and the ground are covered with snow. At the end of a bridge, an old man is riding a donkey with an umbrella in hand. A servant leads the way for him. They go over the snow in search of plums, looking leisurely and comfortable.
This set of stamps was designed by Wang Huming, vice chief designer of the Postage Stamp Printing Bureau (PSPB) of China Post Group, and printed by Henan Post Printing Factory using a woodblock overprinting process.
Offer for sale: This set of stamps is available at designated postal outlets, the online philatelic shop of China Post (http://jiyou.11185.cn), China Philately mobile client and the China Philately Wechat Mall since they were issued on August 4, 2018. This set of stamps will be sold for six months.
China Post issued a set of five commemorative stamps featuring Chinese national heroes of modern times, namely Guan Tianpei, Lin Zexu, Feng Zicai, Liu Yongfu and Deng Shichang, with a denomination of 6 yuan (0.878 U.S. dollars), on July 29, 2018.
After the Opium War in 1840, a large number of people with lofty ideals, represented by Lin Zexu and Guan Tianpei, fought against foreign aggression and oppression, maintained national sovereignty and interests, and became worthy national heroes.
Guan Tianpei (1781-1841), born in Huaian City, east China's Jiangsu Province, was a famous patriotic general in the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912). During his tenure as admiral in the Qing Dynasty in Guangdong, Guan gave full support to Lin Zexu's destruction of opium at Humen Beach. After the outbreak of the Opium War, the British army invaded the fort of Humen. Guan led the guards to resist resolutely, and was finally martyred.
Lin Zexu (1785-1850), born in Fuzhou City, south China's Fujian Province, was a great patriot of modern China. He banned opium in Guangdong Province in 1839 and burnt 20,000 boxes of collected opium, about 1.185 million kilograms, in Humen beach. Lin compiled some foreign books and materials, making Chinese people begin to break the shackles of the concept of Huayi, and learn from the West.
Feng Zicai (1818-1903), born in Shawei Village, south China's Guangdong Province (now located in Guangxi Province), was a patriotic general in the late Qing Dynasty. During the Sino-French War of 1883-1885, 70-year-old Feng was named military assistant outside Shanhaiguan Pass. He routed the French army, won the war of Zhen Nanguan, and captured Wenyuan, Lang Son and other key towns.
Liu Yongfu (1837-1917), born in Qinzhou City, south China's Guangdong Province (now located in Guangxi Province), was a patriotic general in the late Qing Dynasty. Liu participated in the Sino-French War with his black flag troops in 1883, and repeatedly defeated the French army. During the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895, he was ordered to fight the Japanese army in Taiwan. After Taiwan fell, Liu, as an anti-Japanese leader, continued to lead local masses to resist Japan.
Deng Shichang (1849-1894), born in Panyu District, south China's Guangdong Province, was a patriotic general in the late Qing Dynasty. He was commander of the North Atlantic Fleet during the First Sino-Japanese War. Deng fought bravely against the Japanese army in the battle of the Yellow Sea, and eventually sacrificed his own life for the cause.
The set of stamps was created using traditional Chinese painting techniques. The first stamp depicts Guan Tianpei standing on the top of a battery, holding a sword, and commanding the battle of Humen. The second shows the historical scene of Lin Zexu's destruction of opium at Humen Beach and the third one shows Feng Zicai jumping from the wall of Zhennanguan, and rushing against the French army. The fourth displays Liu Yongfu's foray into Lintao County and defeating the French army, while in the fifth stamp, Deng Shichang holds a telescope in hand, calmly commanding the soldiers of the North Atlantic Fleet.
This set of stamps was designed by the young painter Meng Fancong and was printed by the Beijing Stamp Printing House using a heliographic printing process.
Offer for sale: This set of stamps is available at designated postal outlets, the online philatelic shop of China Post (http://jiyou.11185.cn), China Philately mobile client and the China Philately Wechat Mall since they were issued on July 29, 2018. This set of stamps will be sold for six months.
China Post issued a set of four special stamps featuring fruits, namely Pineapples, Cherries, Mangoes and Oranges, with a denomination of 5.4 yuan (0.79 U.S. dollars), on July 14, 2018.
Pineapple, a tropical fruit, was introduced to China from Brazil in the sixteenth century. As one of the four famous fruits of the southern China Five Ridges area, it is mainly distributed in Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Yunnan and other places.
Pineapple is homophonic to "Wang Lai" in southern Fujian dialect, which means "the source of revenue is thriving."
Cherry's English pronunciation is similar to the word "cherish." In China it is mainly grown in Liaoning, Hebei, Shaanxi, Gansu, Shandong, Henan, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Sichuan and so on.
Mangoes, another tropical fruit, are native to India. The Mangiferaindica Linn mentioned in the Buddhist Records of the Western World is the ancient name of the fruit. It is also called "Wang Guo" after being introduced to China, which means "expectation." It is mainly distributed in Yunnan, Guangxi, Guangdong, Hainan, Fujian, Taiwan, Sichuan and other places.
Oranges are distributed mainly in Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Guizhou, Guangxi, Yunnan, Gansu, Shaanxi and so on. "Orange" is homophonic to "sincerity" in Chinese, which means wholeheartedness and may all wishes come true.
This set of stamps has been created with watercolor painting techniques, and features fruits against a beige background, creating pleasant and warm still life scenes and featuring the greenness and freshness of fruits.
The images of the fruits are structured, distinct and clear. The stamps vividly display the deliciousness and sweetness of the fruits.
The set of stamps was designed by Guo Zhenshan, a member of the China Artists Association and vice president of the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, and printed by Henan Post Printing Factory using an offset printing process.
Offer for sale: This set of stamps is available at designated postal outlets, the online philatelic shop of China Post (http://jiyou.11185.cn), China Philately mobile client and the China Philately Wechat Mall since they were issued on July 14, 2018. This set of stamps will be sold for six months.
China Post issued a set of two special stamps featuring Qu Yuan, namely Sorrow Song Li Sao and Questions to Heaven, as well as a souvenir sheet on June 18, 2018.
Qu Yuan (B.C. 340–B.C. 278), an important statesman in the state of Chu during the Warring States Period (B.C. 453- B.C. 221 ) of ancient China, was a descendant of Qu Xia, son of King Wu of Chu Xiong Tong.
Qu, trusted by King Huai of Chu (reigned B.C. 328–B.C. 299) in his early years, served as left minister and also managed the domestic and diplomatic affairs. He advocated that the state should select domestic talents and give them the right posts, and develop policies that make the government honest and enlightened, and that implement outward unites the state of Qi to resist the state of Qin.
However, Qu was exiled to the northern Han and Yuan Xiang rivers for he was slandered and squeezed out by the aristocrats. In B.C. 278 (21 years after the Chu Emperor Qingxiang's reign), Bai Qi, a general of the state of Qin, conquered the Ying Du (today's Jiangling County, central China's Hubei Province), capital of Chu. Qu was so grieved that he committed suicide by wading into the Miluo River by weighing himself down holding a rock.
Qu was a great patriotic poet, known as "the ancestor of Chinese poetry" and "the ancestor of Ci Fu." His main works include Li Sao (literally: Encountering Sorrow), Jiu Ge (literally: Nine Songs), Jiu Zhang (Nine Pieces), and Heavenly Questions. He is the founder and representative writer of the poems of the Chu Ci anthology (also known as The Songs of the South or Songs of Chu), a volume of poems attributed to or considered to be inspired by his verse writing. This volume demonstrates that Chinese poetry had entered a new era from collective singing to individual creation. Chu Ci and Shi Jing (The Classic of Poetry) are the two greatest collections of ancient Chinese poetry and have had a profound impact on later poetry.
For thousands of years, Qu's spirit and personality have constantly served as an inspiration to the Chinese people. Today, people still eat zongzi (glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves) and participate in dragon boat races to commemorate Qu's sacrifice on the Dragon Boat Festival, which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the traditional Chinese lunar calendar.
Qu was identified by the World Peace Council as one of the four cultural celebrities in the world in 1953 and China Post also issued a set of commemorative stamps called "Four World Cultural Celebrities" that year.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has added the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival and its legends, which mainly commemorate the poet Qu, to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009.
This set of stamps has been created with traditional Chinese painting techniques. In the stamp Sorrow Song Li Sao, Qu sits beside a writing desk with a pen in hand, and looks sad after being slandered by enemies and rejected by King Huai of Chu, and creates Li Sao with a heavy heart. The background shows orchid plants, a dragon, a phoenix and other elements that were mentioned in Li Sao.
In the stamp Questions to Heaven, Qu looks up at the sky with one hand pointing at heaven. He stands in the wind and high waves slap against the cliff. Qu wrote his Heavenly Questions after his exile from the royal court of Chu. The background of the stamp features the cosmos as it appears in the opening of the Heavenly Questions. It reflects the spiritual activity of Qu in exploring his political ideals while doubting and questioning the boundary between heaven and human beings as well as the change between ancient and modern times.
In the souvenir sheet, Qu presents a bamboo slip with both hands and steps forward, which makes him appear as a court official who cares deeply about his country. The rolling waves in the background presage Qu's ending as he committed suicide by drowning himself in a river, expressing the immortality of Qu's spirit and people's memory of him.
This set of stamps was designed by Li Yunzhong, a young Inner Mongolian painter, and was printed by the Beijing Stamp Printing House using a heliographic printing process.
Offer for sale: This set of stamps is available at designated postal outlets, the online philatelic shop of China Post (http://jiyou.11185.cn), China Philately mobile client and the China Philately Wechat Mall since they were issued on June 18, 2018. This set of stamps will be sold for six months.
China Post issued a set of four special stamps featuring the Kashgar Scenery, namely Kashgar's old town, the stone city of Taxkorgan ruins, Jinhu Yang National Forest Park and Khunjerab, on June 9, 2018.
Kashgar Prefecture, whose ancient Chinese name is Shule, is located in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. It served as a pivotal trading post and strategically important city along the Silk Road and as an international commercial port for merchants.
It is a famous historical and cultural city in China, and is also known as "Eastern Cairo." Located in the middle of the Eurasian continent, Kashgar is on the trade route of the Eurasian community. It is the bridgehead of the country's opening to the West, and the core of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The Central Government formally approved the establishment of the special economic zone of Kashgar in 2010.
Kashgar's old town, located in the center of Kashgar Prefecture, covers an area of 20 square kilometers, and is a National 5A class tourist spot. The town was built 2,000 years ago in the Western Han Dynasty (B.C. 202-A.D.8). With a long history, it has great research value and influence on Silk Road culture. Under the care of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, it has undergone tremendous changes in recent years and become a model for the protection and transformation of old cities in the world.
The stone city of Taxkorgan ruins, as a key national heritage conservation site, is located in the northern part of the Tajik Autonomous County of Taxkorgan, which was the main road of the ancient Silk Road. It is among the four largest ancient stone castles in the world and is one of the three largeststone cities in China. The city was first built by the ancestors of the Tajik, and now there are many buildings that date back to the Han Dynasty all the way to the Qing Dynasty (A.D.1636 -A.D. 1912).
Jinhu Yang National Forest Park, located in Zepu County, is a National 5A class tourist spot. Nestled in the upper edges of the alluvial fan of the Yarkant River, the park is surrounded by water and rich in plant and animal resources. It boasts poplar trees, blue water, oasis and desert.
Khunjerab, a valley in the Pamirs, is located in the Tajik Autonomous County of Taxkorgan. On the border between China and Pakistan, it is an important mountain pass of the Karakorum Mountains. With an altitude of 4,733 meters, Khunjerab is the highest pass in the world. This is one of the important channels of the ancient Silk Road, and the only channel of the CPEC.
The stamp design is based on photographic works and artistically presents the unique historical features and magnificent natural scenery of Kashgar.
This set of stamps is designed by Xing Wenwei and printed by Beijing Stamp Printing House using a heliographic printing process.
Offer for sale: This set of stamps is available at designated postal outlets, the online philatelic shop of China Post (http://jiyou.11185.cn), China Philately mobile client and the China Philately Wechat Mall since they were issued on June 9, 2018. This set of stamps will be sold for six months.
China Post issued a set of four commemorative stamps of Ancient Chinese Scientists and Their Works (I) on May 26, 2018.
Li Shizhen (A.D. 1518-A.D. 1593), a famous doctor in the Ming Dynasty (A.D.1368―A.D.1644）, was born in Qichun County, central China's Hubei Province.
Coming from a family of doctors, Li began to practice medicine with his father at the age of 23. He also worked in the Imperial Academy of Medicine for decades, and enjoyed a high reputation.
In order to correct the mistakes in most medical publications of that time, he spent 27 years collecting drug samples and prescriptions, and compiled the scientific book Compendium of Materia Medica, a 52-volume Chinese medical classic.
The whole book is divided into 16 parts, 60 categories, 1,892 entries with details about more than 1,892 drugs and 1,109 attached images.
The scientific classification of plants in this medical text was made two hundred years earlier than that of Carolus Linnaeus, a Swedish taxonomist.
Compendium of Materia Medica not only greatly contributed to the development of Chinese pharmacology, but also had a profound influence on the development of medicine, botany, zoology, mineralogy and chemistry in the world.
Song Yingxing (A.D. 1587-unknown), born in Fengxin County, east China's Jiangxi Province, was a Chinese scientist who lived during the late Ming Dynasty .
He devoted his life to the scientific investigation and research of agriculture and handicraft production.
Song's works and research fields were related to the different disciplines of natural science and humanities, and his most outstanding work is The Exploitation of the Works of Nature, which was known as China's craft encyclopedia in the seventeenth century.
The first publication of The Exploitation of the Works of Nature was published in 1637 (ten years after the Ming Emperor Chongzhen's reign).
The book is divided into three parts and 18 volumes. It is the first comprehensive work on agriculture and handicraft production in the world.
It records all the ancient Chinese techniques before the mid-Ming Dynasty, including agriculture technology and handicraft industries, such as machinery, bricks, ceramics, sulfur, candles, paper, weapons, gunpowder, textile, dyeing, salt-making, coal mining, oil extraction and other technologies.
The set of stamps features images of the two ancient scientists and their two scientific works in the form of sketches and drawings.
In the first picture, Li is wearing a bamboo hat, with the herb Panax Notoginsengin one hand and a hoe in the other hand, carefully studying the herb.
The second picture features the Compendium of Materia Medica, an oil lamp and a cup of tea placed on a writing desk, which display Li's hard work in writing the book.
The background depicts the prelude of the earliest edition of Compendium of Materia Medica published in 1593, and four representative drugs, namely Panax Notoginseng, ardisiacrenata, Crossostephium chinense（L.）Makino and mossback.
In the third stamp, Song is studying textile technology with weavers beside a textile machine.
Finally, the fourth stamp displays two illustrations of the first edition of The Exploitation of the Works of Nature in the Ming Dynasty, a double-acting plunger bellow and a water mill against the background of the title page of the scroll of The Exploitation of the Works of Nature.
The figures' expressions and actions are exquisite and lifelike.
This set of stamps was designed by a professor of the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts and member of the comic art committee of the China Artists Association, Li Chen, and printed by Shenyang Post Printing Factory using an offset printing process.
Offer for sale: This set of stamps is available at designated postal outlets, the online philatelic shop of China Post (http://jiyou.11185.cn), China Philately mobile client and the China Philately Wechat Mall since they were issued on May 26, 2018. This set of stamps will be sold for six months.
China Post issued a set of four special stamps of Honesty and Uprightness (I), namely Honesty is Treasure, Yangxu Refuses Gifts, Free from Corruption and Bribery, and Creation of the Official Denunciation of Bribery with a denomination of 4.8 yuan (0.72 U.S. dollars), on June 24, 2018.
The culture of an honest and upright administration has a long history in China, and is an important part of Chinese traditional moral cultivation. People detest corruption and honesty and uprightness are expected of officials.
In the 5,000-year history of civilization in China, those who are upright, honest and self-disciplined have been the subject of many stories which have become classics in Chinese culture. These characters and stories are of great significance for promoting an honest and upright administration education among Party members and cadres.
The stamps feature widespread stories of four imperial court officials who were upright and honest, from the Spring and Autumn period （770 B.C.-.476 B.C.）to the Qing Dynasty (A.D.1636—A.D.1912).
The story "Honesty is Treasure" took place in the Spring and Autumn period . Zi Han, a virtuous minister in the State of Song, was one of the six ministers. Someone got a beautiful jade stone and wanted to dedicate it to Zi Han. He refused and told the man, "You take jade as a treasure, I regard honesty and uprightness as a treasure. If I accept your gift, you will lose your treasure and so will I. So, we'd better keep our own treasures respectively."
The story "Yangxu Refuses Gifts" happened in the Eastern Han Dynasty (A.D.25-A.D.220). Yang Xu was the mayor of Nanyang County, which was a position of high authority. A subordinate government official presented live fish to Yang, but he hung the gifts in the hall. When the official presented fish again, Yang showed him the fish in the hall and refused.
The story "Free from Corruption and Bribery" took place in the Ming Dynasty (A.D.1368―A.D.1644). Yu Qian was a famous minister who had achieved glorious success. One year, others persuaded him to curry favor with the bigwigs to get promotions when he was to be debriefed by the emperor in the capital. Yu gave a flick of his sleeves and dismissed it. Then he wrote a famous verse of "Having an audience with the emperor with only fine breezes in both sleeves." Chinese today often use "the sleeves swaying with every soft breeze" to describe an official free from corruption and bribery.
The story of "Creation of the Official Denunciation of Bribery" occurred in the Qing Dynasty. Yu Chenglong, a famous minister, was praised by Emperor Kangxi and the people for his outstanding achievements and honesty during his 24 years in office. A county magistrate under the jurisdiction of Yu sent a generous gift to him for the Mid-Autumn Festival. Yu immediately rejected the gift and created an official denunciation of bribery, which forbid all officials from accepting bribes and a zero-tolerance policy towards offenders.
The set of stamps was designed by a member of the comic art committee of the China Artists Association called Hu Bozong, and printed by Shenyang Post Printing Factory.
China Post issued a set of commemorative stamps all featuring the same design for the National Day for Helping the Disabled, with a denomination of 1.2 yuan (0.18 U.S. dollars), on May 20, 2018.
The fourteenth provision of the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Disabled Persons stipulates that the National Day for Helping the Disabled is marked on the third Sunday of May every year.
The national day aims to publicize the spirit of self-improvement for the disabled, to make the whole society better understand the living conditions of the disabled, to strengthen support for them, and create a more welcoming atmosphere and a social environment that is conducive to the sustainable development of the disabled.
May 20, 2018 marked the 28th National Day for Helping the Disabled with the theme of "None of the disabled will be left behind in completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects."
The stamps feature a stylized disabled person in white color in a wheelchair against the background of a giant heart, symbolizing the purity and beauty of the disabled and highlighting the theme that the whole society cares for the disabled.
Eight aids for the disabled are depicted in the background: barrier-free access, sign language, sign language, information, Braille, medical care, a wheelchair, service dog. It reflects the equal participation of the disabled in society and sharing in social development. The message behind the design is that the cause of the handicapped in China has witnessed vigorous development during the last forty years of reform and opening-up, especially since the China Disabled Persons' Federation (CDPF) was founded 30 years ago.
The set of stamps was designed by Shen Jiahong, and printed by Liaoning Post Printing Factory using an offset printing process.
China Post issued a set of four special stamps of Silk Road Cultural Relics (I), with a denomination of 4.8 yuan (0.7 U.S. dollars), on May 19, 2018.
The stamps feature the four representative cultural relics unearthed from northwest China's Shaanxi Province -- the starting point of the Silk Road, namely a gilded bronze silkworm of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.), a gilded bronze horse of the Han Dynasty, an agate cup mounted on a gold ox head of the Tang Dynasty (618 A.D. - 907 A.D.) and a blue-glazed plate of the Tang Dynasty.
The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes that connected the East and West. It was central to cultural interaction between them for centuries. The Silk Road refers to both the terrestrial and the maritime routes connecting Asia with the Middle East and southern Europe.
The Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative trade in silk carried out along it, beginning in the Han Dynasty. The Han Dynasty expanded the Central Asian section of the trade routes around 114 B.C. through the missions and explorations of the Chinese imperial envoy Zhang Qian.
The northern route started at Chang'an (now called Xi'an) , traveled northwest through Gansu Province, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region, Central Asia, Western Asia, and connected land passages of the Mediterranean countries.
Trade on the Silk Road played a significant role in the exchange and integration of Chinese and foreign cultures. It has enriched the cultural style of China.
The Silk Road cultural relics are a symbol of the prosperity and long history of the Silk Road.
China Post issued a set of four special stamps of the Silk Road and a souvenir sheet in 2012. To promote the spirit of the Silk Road, the group has now issued special stamps of Silk Road Cultural Relics (I).
The gilded bronze silkworm of the Han Dynasty was unearthed in the Qianchi River of Shaanxi Province in 1984, and is now part of the collections of the Shaanxi History Museum. The bronze silkworm has a total of nine abdominal segments with complete chest feet, abdominal feet and tail feet. It is lifting its head and producing silk. Such a refined and lifelike relic was found in China for the first time.
The gilded bronze horse of the Han Dynasty was unearthed in Xiwu township of Shaanxi Province in 1985, and is now housed in the Maoling Mausoleum Museum.
The bronze horse stands upright in a simple and elegant pose, glittering and solid. According to research, it was the ornamental mould of the Akhal-teke horses that were unearthed in the Imperial Forest Park of the Han Dynasty.
The agate cup mounted on a gold ox head of the Tang Dynasty was unearthed in Hejia village of Shaanxi Province, and is now housed in the Shaanxi History Museum.
It was carved from agate with mixed colors in red, brown and white. One end of the agate is carved into the mouth of a cup and the other is carved into a vivid ox head. The agate cup is of exquisite workmanship and has a glassy luster. It has important reference value for the study of cultural exchanges between China and foreign counties in the Tang Dynasty.
The blue-glazed plate of the Tang Dynasty was unearthed in the Famen underground palace of Shaanxi Province in 1987, and is housed in Famen Temple Museum now.
The plate is blue and semi-transparent. It is elaborately decorated and is divided into several layers from inside to outside. The center is a flower of eight petals, banana leaves, reflecting the communication between China and the Islamic countries in the Tang Dynasty.
The stamp patterns have cultural relics as the main elements, with camels along the Silk Road, portrait of bricks of the Han Dynasty and silk ribbons decorated with flower patterns of the Tang Dynasty as the background.
The camel teams heading westward and eastward symbolize the cultural exchanges between the East and West, highlighting the concept of the Silk Road.
To highlight the texture of the cultural relics, all of the four stamps are printed using an embossing process, which makes them appear almost lifelike.
The background of the stamps is printed in pearlescent ink to highlight the theme of the Silk Road. This set of stamps was designed by Chen Jingyi, and printed by Henan Post Printing Factory using the offset printing process.