Christmas Island Year of the Horse 2014

Release date: 7 January 2014

Lunar New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese festivals and is celebrated by Chinese people throughout the world. It is a time to finish unfinished business, settle debts and bury differences so the new year can be started with a clean slate.

New Year celebrations centre on the family and family reunion. Incense is burned for ancestors; special food is prepared. Friends visit each other with presents, and cards are exchanged. Gifts of money wrapped in lucky red paper envelopes are distributed widely.

The stamps

The stamps show the development of the Chinese character for the horse, shown fully in the $1.80c stamp, and the way it is derived from its pictorial representation, shown in the 60c stamp. Paper cut motifs are used to pictorially represent the horse in the 60c stamp. Paper cuts are one of the most popular forms of Chinese art and are commonly used to decorate windows, lanterns, mirrors, gates and walls during the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Minisheet

The miniature sheet tells the story (in Chinese and English) about the Chinese idiom – lǎomǎshítú – which literally means an old horse knows the way; experience is valuable. In 663 B.C., while fighting against invaders from the north, the army under Premier Guan Zhong, was lost in a valley and faced annihilation. He wondered if horses, like dogs, could find their way back home. Several old horses were freed. Without hesitation, they walked out of the valley, and found their way home. The army followed and was saved from annihilation. There is a special gold foil overprinting on the stamps, minisheet and zodiac sheetlet.

Zodiac sheetlet

The zodiac sheetlet was introduced in 2002. It consists of the miniature sheet and 12 stamp designs showing each animal in the Chinese zodiac:

  • 15c - Rat, Ox, Dragon, Snake 
  • 20c - Tiger, Rabbit, Horse, Pig 
  • 25c - Goat, Monkey Rooster, Dog

The zodiac sheetlet is a continuing feature of Lunar New Year issues and features paper cuts of each of the animals of the zodiac with the highlighted year in gold foil.

Designer

The stamps, mini-sheet and zodiac sheetlet stamps were designed by Ms Dani Poon, Tak Nai of Melbourne. Dani was born in China and grew up in Hong Kong, alive to the cultural sensibilities of the Chinese legendary stories and Chinese history. She has seven years design and illustration experience in the graphics industry internationally. After graduating from Swinburne University School of Design in 1998, Dani has worked in Melbourne, Italy and Hong Kong, developing product ranges, art directing and designing product campaigns. Dani is now living and working in Germany. Dani has been commissioned for the complete cycle of twelve designs, the Horse being the seventh in the commission.

Additional Products

  • FDC stamps
  • FDC mini-sheet
  • FDC x 2 zodiac sheetlet stamps
  • Pack (doubles as greeting card), miniature sheet only
  • Zodiac sheetlet
  • Postcard
  • Illustrated gutter strip
  • International and domestic PPEs
  • Stamp and coin cover with Perth Mint
  • Prestige Booklet featuring stamps from the zodiac sheetlet
  • Special Minisheet Collection, a digitally printed silk minisheet (with stamps) self-adhesive minisheet with mesh perforation and a traditional minisheet

Technical Details

  • Issue date

    7 January 2014
  • FDI withdrawal

    4 February 2014
  • Denomination

    1 x 60c, 1 x $1.80
  • Stamp design

    Dani Poon
  • Product design

    Sonia Young, Australia Post Design Studio
  • Paper (gummed)

    Tullis Russell
  • Printer (gummed)

    McKellar
  • Paper self-adhesive

    C100
  • Printer self-adhesive

    McKellar
  • Printing process

    Lithography
  • Stamp size

    26mm x 37.5mm
  • Minisheet size

    136mm x 70mm
  • Zodiac sheetlet size

    170mm x 210mm
  • Perforations

    14.6 x 13.86
  • Sheet layout

    Module of 50
  • National postmark

    Christmas Island, WA 6798
  • Issue withdrawal date

    31 July 2014

*This content was produced at the time of the stamp issue release date and will not be updated.