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Silk Road Cultural Relics (I)
Supporting Information   
Stamp Title: Silk Road Cultural Relics (I)
Serial Number: 2018-11
Value in Set: 4
Denomination: 4.8 yuan
Date of Issue: 2018-05-19
Designer: Chen Jingyi
Size of Stamp: 40×30mm
Perforation: 13
Sheet Composition: 12
Printer: Henan Post Printing Factory
Printing Process: Offset Printing

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. 

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