2013 is the Year of the Snake. The use of animals to mark the 12 components of the Lunar New Year Cycle is a long-held tradition in China. Frequently used as the theme for Chinese arts and crafts since ancient times, the 12 Chinese zodiac animals have profound significance in Chinese folk handicrafts.
The four stamps use different types of traditional Chinese arts and crafts to signify the theme of the Year of the Snake.
Paper-cutting is a traditional Chinese art. During the Lunar New Year, families will decorate their homes by displaying a variety of red paper cutouts on windows and doors to welcome the propitious Spring Festival. The distinctiveness of snakes is captured by incorporating Chinese paper-cutting techniques.
Chinese painting is a unique form of art with a long history. Rendered in Chinese ink and wash painting, the slithering movement of a snake is vividly portrayed in the stamp, highlighting the style of the Lingnan School of Painting which attaches great importance to a lively and energetic interpretation of the subject.
Seal carving, commonly known as Zhuanke, is a type of traditional art originated in China. The stamp depicts two seals – one carved with the bronze inscription of the word “snake” (left) and the other with a motif of a snake (right).
Jade carving is one of the oldest carving arts in China. It has been used for centuries to create decorative accessories and art collectibles. A coiled snake shape jade pendant depicted in the stamp is carved according to the natural colour and shape of the jade.
Depicted as a woodblock print, the colourful stamp sheetlet highlights the vibrant snake with a glowing pearl in its mouth surrounded by tongues of flame against a splendid gold backdrop embellished with a multicolour design to give a note of festivity.
Woodblock printing is an artistic form of printmaking in which a reverse image is carved into the surface of a wooden block before being printed onto a piece of paper. Hongkong Post will also release a silk stamp sheetlet for the occasion. Silk, a symbol of nobility and elegance, is perfect for highlighting the magnificent grandeur of an agile snake to herald a blissful year ahead.
Title: Year of the Snake – Hongkong
Date of Issue: 26 January 2013
Denominations: $1.40, $2.40, $3, $5