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HOME: China Stamps 1997: 1997-1
1997-1, Scott 2747-48 1997 Year of Ox
The Gold Ox Gallops Radiantly
(2-1), The Gold Ox Gallops Radiantly, 150 fen, 26*31mm
Large Picture
Ox Ploughs for a Good Harvest
(2-2), Ox Ploughs for a Good Harvest, 50 fen, 26*31mm
Large Picture
Technical details
Scott No: 2747-48
Serial number: 1997-1
Values in set: 2
Date of issue: January 5, 1997
Designers: Hu zhenyuan
Size: 26*31mm
Perforation: 11.5
Sheet composition: 32
Printing process: gravure-engraving combined
Themes: Culture, New year,
The practice of using animals to number the years best reflects the beauty of Chinese traditional culture.

Briefly, this practice is a combined use of Heavenly stems and Earthly Branches with twelve animals closely related to human beings, namely mouse, ox, tiger, rabbit, horse, goat, monkey, dog, pig and dragon. (As a matter of fact, there is no such a thing as dragon. But people use it because it means a lot to Chinese.) Each animal represents an Earthly Branch and twelve years is a round, and sixty years makes up a big one. In this way, the dull figure of each year now comes to life and easy to be remembered, which shows the creativity and imagination of our ancestor.

Using animals to number the years also reflects the idea of equality among our ancestor. Every animal, ranging from unconspicuous mouse to powerful tiger, the king of animals, is endowed with certain quality or virtue and every Chinese will be happy to be born in any year of these animals.

The animals, which have nothing to do with each other, are arranged in perfect order and each of them will be the "dealer" for one year in turn. All these animals play their own roles and add both happiness and flavour to this world.

More often than not, people may witness such a touching scene in anywhere of the world: a group of Chinese meet, they don't know each other before. But they will be soon drawn close as long as any of them counts the year in animals on the fingers. They will sit together, doing small talks happily. This, of course, is a unique scene to China.

1997 is the year of Dingchou in the lunar calendar and those born in this year is born in the year of ox.
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