On January 5, the first-day-of-issue ceremony of the special stamps Year of Guimao was held in the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Beijing. Chairman Liu Aili of China Post Group Corporation Limited, President Wang Ning of the NCPA, Chief Livestock Officer Zhang Tianzuo of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and other guests attended the ceremony. Mr Lei Zhenfang from Rong Bao Zhai representing the stamp designer Mr Huang Yongyu, Liu Aili, Wang Ning, Zhang Tianzuo, Lu Xiaobo and Vice President Wu Jingyu of the Chinese Taekwondo Association jointly unveiled the special stamps.
The special stamps Year of Guimao are the eighth set in the fourth round of Chinese zodiac stamps, consisting of two pieces in one set. The first stamp is entitled The Rabbit Sending Blessings (the Year of Guimao is also called the Year of the Rabbit according to the Chinese zodiac), depicting a wise rabbit, in a cute blue color, holding a pen in the right hand and a letter in the left hand. Combining Chinese zodiac with letters and epistolary culture, such an image suggests that Chinese people think all the more of their loved ones during the Spring Festival and therefore send them their best wishes by letters. It also conveys the meaning that Chinese people will work together to draw a grand “blueprint” of China in the coming year. The second stamp is entitled Endless Cycle for Vitality, depicting three rabbits running head-to-tail in a circle. This image indicates that the Chinese nation pursues self-improvement constantly and vigorously, and the Chinese people strive in unity and act in unison. It also symbolizes the strength of the country and the vitality of the people. The background of the second stamp is a picture of "the Jade Rabbit pounding medicine", expressing good wishes for overcoming the pandemic and returning to normal life, and conveying the sincere prayer for China’s prosperity and people’s well-being.
As is known, the famous artist Huang Yongyu is the designer of the 1980 Gengshen Year stamp (also known as Gengshen Monkey), the first zodiac stamp he designed and also the first one issued after the founding of the People's Republic of China. Therefore, he has become known as "Father of Monkey Stamp". 36 years later, he created another stamp for the Year of the Monkey, the fourth round of zodiac stamp Year of Bingshen. This time, the 100-year-old artist took up his paintbrush and designed zodiac stamps for the third time, and produced the special stamps Year of Guimao in a natural, witty and dynamic style. Although Mr Huang Yongyu didn’t show up at the first-day-of-issue ceremony, he also expressed his expectation for the release of the stamps via a video.
The official issue of the special stamps Year of Guimao kicked off the celebration of the Spring Festival. Starting from Jan 5, consumers can purchase the set of stamps at designated postal outlets nationwide, online mall of China Philately (https://jiyou.11185.cn), the mobile app of China Post, the WeChat Mall for philatelic products in the official WeChat account of China Post Group. Hardly had the ceremony ended when a long queue of enthusiastic philatelists lined up before the counter of the temporary post office on-site for the zodiac stamps, related philatelic items, and applied commemorative postmarks on them.