French stamps dedicated to the Chinese New Year
La Poste celebrates the New Year of the Chinese lunar calendar with the edition of two blocks of stamps dedicated to the “Year of the Tiger”, and an issue ceremony organized on January 22, 2022 in Paris.
Dragon dance, cooking, traditional instruments… These are perhaps the first things that come to mind when talking about Chinese culture. Now, for the French, there is another: stamps dedicated to the New Year of the Chinese lunar calendar.
Since 2005, the year in which La Poste celebrated this Chinese date with the issue of stamps honoring the year of the Rooster, France has issued stamps each year representing the traditional signs of the Chinese zodiac, or “shengxiao”. With the intensification of cultural exchanges between China and France, more and more French people are interested in them and collect them, which brings them closer to Chinese culture.
Li Zhongyao, one of the first designers of these stamps, favored the Indian ink wash technique for his creations. “When the concept of the Chinese zodiac was first introduced to the French philatelic scene, I thought there was a lack of understanding of Indian ink painting and Chinese calligraphy in France”, he comments. His style has been praised by collectors, not only in France but also in other French-speaking regions.
The public was not only fascinated by the beauty of the illustrations on the stamps but also and above all by what they represent. The latter attracted a crowd of enthusiasts, and sold hundreds of thousands of copies, according to Chen Jiang Hong, another artist who designed stamps for the years of the Pig, the Rat, the Ox and the Tiger. .
This year, a block of stamps shows a tiger lying on a red background. For the price of €1.16, it applies to mail delivered in France. The second, with a tiger standing on its paws on a blue background, costs €1.65 for international mail.
A preview sale was organized on January 22 in the Parisian store Le Carré d’Encre and on the La Poste website.
“The lying tiger represents power, while the tiger on its legs symbolizes hope”explains to the Xinhua press agency the artist Chen Jiang Hong. “I used the colors red, blue and white. These are those of the French flag. Red is also used to celebrate Chinese New Year. »
French designers also participated in the creation of these Chinese New Year stamps. The works of Étienne Théry, designer of the 2018 stamp for the Year of the Dog, focused on the interaction between different cultures.
Étienne Théry thus produced a small booklet of stamps presenting 12 sculptures on the theme of the dog in different materials, coming from the collections of museums in France and embodying different artistic styles from various regions of Europe, Africa and Asia. He sought to combine Chinese culture with Western and global cultures to celebrate the Year of the Dog.