Chunghwa Post has issued a set of stamps to mark the Year of the Pig, which starts today.
The state-run company has been issuing Lunar New Year stamps since 1968, starting with a collection featuring the chicken from the Chinese zodiac.
The first set of Year of the Pig stamps was issued in 1970, Chunghwa Post stamp collection division director Chen Yueh-tao (陳月桃) said.
Photo courtesy of Chunghwa Post
Designed by Yan Chi-shih (顏奇石), it featured a piggy bank, in line with a government policy encouraging the public to save and keep their money in the bank, Chen said.
The second set, issued in 1982, was created by Chung Chu-mei (莊珠妹), featuring a rotund pig symbolizing the traditional Lunar New Year wish for the family to get together and wishes for prosperity.
The third set, released in 1994, was designed by Tsao Chun-yan (曹俊彥), showcasing a pig in different geometric shapes.
Both the second and third sets of Year of the Pig stamps had two stamps and one miniature sheet, which featured two sets of stamps identical to the two single stamps.
The designers of the fourth set were Wu Jen-feng (巫人鳳) and Chen Yu-wen (陳俞文), with a NT$3.50 stamp featuring a pig running and facing the words “The Year Ding Hai (丁亥),” as if eager to greet the coming new year.
The old Chinese calendar system counted the years using a combination of the 10 heavenly branches and 12 earthly stems, with every 60 years considered one complete cycle.
Ding hai symbolizes the 24th year in the cycle and corresponds to the year 2007.
The second stamp in the fourth set, valued at NT$13, did not feature a pig, but a scene with drums and small gongs, evoking a sense of festive cheer and merriment during the Lunar New Year.
The souvenir sheet, featuring NT$12 stamps, showcases two smiling pigs facing each other, symbolizing seasonal joy and an abundance of good, while a child holding a lotus in one hand and a fish in the other symbolize wishes for continued abundance throughout the year.
The Chinese character for lotus (lian, 蓮), is a homophone for the word link (lian, 連), symbolizing continuity or consecutiveness, while the Chinese character for fish (yu, 魚), is homonymous with the word surplus or abundance (yu, 餘).
This year’s collection, the fifth set, was designed by Up Creative Co and printed by French national postal service La Poste, Chen Yueh-tao said.
The design for the NT$6 stamp features a red pig nursing several golden pigs with plum flowers in full bloom in the background, while the NT$13 stamp features pigs decorated with plum blossoms. A NT$15 stamp shows two pigs smiling at each other, with plum blossoms and clouds in the background.
This year’s collection features a winning design from a public contest, Chen Yueh-tao said, adding that Chunghwa Post would issue a collector’s set featuring two panes each with 20 stamps, and nine miniature sheets along with a Chunghwa Post certificate certifying the stamps’ authenticity.
The trend of using zodiac signs as the base design concept for stamps is catching on in France, Canada and the US, she said, adding that Taiwanese stamps can easily compete with those from countries influenced by the Chinese zodiac signs, including Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Vietnam,
Chunghwa Post’s Lunar New Year stamps are greatly favored by stamp collectors and the general public likes to use them on Lunar New Year greeting cards, she said.
An average of more than 93 percent of the Lunar New Year stamps issued are sold, or about 6 million stamps, she said.
She added that she was confident this year’s set would be well-received, because of its design and the Year of the Pig being favored by Taiwanese.
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