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HOME: China Stamps 1997: 1997-21
1997-21, Scott 2822-26 The Outlaws of the Marsh- A Literary Masterpiece of Ancient China (5th series)
Huyuan Zhuo Coaxes Guan Sheng in a Moonlit Night
(4-1), Huyuan Zhuo Coaxes Guan Sheng in a Moonlit Night, 40 fen, 54*40mm
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Lu Junyi Captures Shi Wengong
(4-2), Lu Junyi Captures Shi Wengong, 50 fen, 54*40mm
Large Picture
Yan Qing Cleverly Defeats Sky-Supporting Pillar
(4-3), Yan Qing Cleverly Defeats Sky-Supporting Pillar, 50 fen, 54*40mm
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Thunderbolt Defeats Imperial Army
(4-4), Thunderbolt Defeats Imperial Army, 150 fen, 54*40mm
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The Heroes of Mount Liangshan Take Seats in Order of Rank
(1-1), The Heroes of Mount Liangshan Take Seats in Order of Rank, 800 fen, 120*135mm/ 60*90mm
Larger Picture
The Outlaws of the Marsh
(1-1f), The Outlaws of the Marsh, 290 fen, - mm
Larger Picture
Technical details
Scott No: 2822-26
Serial number: 1997-21
Values in set: 4
Date of issue: December 22,1997
Designers: Zhou Feng
Size: 54*40mm
Size of the S/S Stamp: 60*90mm
Size of the S/S: 120*135mm
Perforation: 11
Sheet composition: 28
Printing process: gravure
Themes: Literature,
Background
"The Water Margin", also called "Outlaws of the Marsh", is the representative work of Shi Naian of the late Yuan and the early Ming dynasties. The 108 generals in his novel all have their own unique characters and legends, known to readers of different historical periods.

On December 20, 1987, China issued stamps T.123 "The Water Margin-China's Classical Literature" (Group1). Groups 2,3,4, and 5 were issued on July 25, 1989, November 19, 1991, August20, 1993 and this year separately. The most typical scenes of the novel were depicted in the 20 stamps and three small sheets. The issuance of "The Water Margin" stamps lasted for 10 years, one of the longest time for China's serial stamps.

Group 5 stamps will be the last group of "The Water Margin" stamps . They described the ranking of 108 heroes, the peak time for the uprising of the heroes of the margin. Textual research shows that there were only a few stories about the heroes of the margin such as Song Jiang, which circulated among the people from the failure of Song Jiang's uprising to the writing of "The Water Margin". The folk legends, ballads and Zaju (poetic dramas) had enriched the heroes' stories and increased the number of heroes from 36 to 72, and finally to 108, creating a "36" and "72" hero groups.The stamps of "The Water Margin" were issued when China started to reform its stamp designing system. These stamps were designed on the basis of a collection of solicited contributions from the society. The designers, who conducted a complete and thorough study on the famous classical novel, redisplayed the peasants' uprising. These stamps have been well received among the academic circle and the philatelists and regarded as a set of good stamps depicting the ancient Chinese classic novels.
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