The 2012 Year of the Dragon stamp issue is certainly one to celebrate. The powerful dragon is the most vibrant of all 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac and when the Year of the Dragon begins on 23 January 2012, it will bring with it health, wealth, prosperity and success.
The dragon is an important ancient symbol for the Chinese people, and it is believed to ward off evil spirits. Everything connected with the dragon is thought to be blessed, which makes this lunar stamp issue particularly special. Not only do the stamps portray the dragon through different aspects of Chinese culture they also celebrate the growing multicultural society in New Zealand.
The individual stamps in this issue are as follows:
60c – Year of the Dragon
Calligraphy is a traditional Chinese art form, and the Chinese character for ‘dragon’ expressed on the 60c stamp is from the Xi Xia Song stone monument. Carved in the ‘Lishu’ calligraphy style, the character has an authoritative feel that reflects the strength and confidence of those born in the year of the dragon.
$1.20 – Paper-cut Dragon
Paper-cutting is a much-loved Chinese folk art that became popular shortly after paper was invented. It is used for many Chinese weddings, ceremonies and festivals, and the skilfully crafted paper-cut dragon n the $1.20 stamp indicates prosperity, amiability and celebration.
$1.90 – Dragon Lantern
Chinese lanterns are an important part of Chinese New Year, and the Chinese Lantern Festival marks the end of the 15-day Chinese New Year celebrations. The dragon lantern featured on the $1.90 stamp was used in the Auckland Lantern Festival, which annually celebrates New Zealand’s multicultural society.
$2.40 – New Zealand Icon – Dunedin Railway Station
Situated in the South Island, Dunedin was one of the earliest settlements for Chinese immigrants in New Zealand. Over the centuries New Zealand has welcomed many different cultures and this is depicted by the pair of swallows on the $2.40 stamp, which in the Chinese culture symbolise hope, blessings and happiness in the land.
Source: New Zealand