For some time now the small Principality of Liechtenstein and the vast People’s Republic of China have enjoyed friendly relations. One expression of this cordial relationship are numerous Liechtenstein postage stamps to which Chinese artists have contributed. For the “Chinese Signs of the Zodiac” issue (face value CHF 1.90) a different approach has however been adopted, and the result is a world first. For the first time a postage stamp is appearing in silhouette form. For the purpose the face design by Stefan Erne was cut out using state-of-theart laser technology. For greater practical convenience the stamp is moreover appearing in self-adhesive form.
Legend has it that the Chinese signs of the zodiac, which should not be equated with the western horoscope, came about when Buddha invited all the animals to join him in a New Year celebration. Of the animals invited only twelve accepted the invitation however. As an expression of thanks Buddha rewarded the guests who had come with alternating oversight of each year. They exercised this oversight in the order of their arrival for the celebration. So the rat was allowed to begin, followed by the buffalo, the tiger, the hare, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the sheep, the ape, the rooster, the dog and, last but not least, the pig.
The notion of the 12 signs of the zodiac has been in existence for over 2000 years. In the Chinese horoscope there are however no fortune-tellers or forecasting of the future; yet each Chinese sign of the zodiac is associated with certain character traits, propensities and talents. The dragon for example was the symbol of the Chinese imperial house. People born in the year of the dragon are reputed to be healthy, energetic, long-lived, easily roused, impatient and obstinate. They are however also reliable, honest and courageous and radiate self-confidence. In the Chinese zodiac dragons are the eccentrics. The year of the dragon lasts from 23 January 2012 to 9 February 2013.
Title: Chinese Signs of the Zodiac – Liechtenstein
Date of Issue: 14 November 2011
Denominations: CHF 1.90