The story of Chinese New Year starts with Jade Emperor, who created the Zodiac calendar, a 12-year cycle to help track the passage of time. The Rabbit was chosen to represent the fourth year in the Zodiac after it came fourth in the Jade Emperor’s great race.
The Rabbit would have come first as it was fast and nimble. However, the Rabbit was also cocky and chose to take a power nap midway through the race. He woke to see the Rat, the Ox and the Tiger taking home the medals.
Chinese believe that the Zodiac and the animal years in which people are born have a tremendous influence on their lives and personalities. Despite the rabbit coming fourth in the Jade Emperor’s great race, being a Rabbit is considered fortunate. Rabbits are said to have calm, noble demeanours. They love to be creative, they are sociable and they live long and happy lives. Yet for harmony to exist in the universe, Rabbits must also have their dark sides. They are known to be arrogant at times, prone to escapism and averse to taking even the slightest of risks.
The design of the 2023 Year of the Rabbit stamps is inspired by the style of the Chinese nianhua poster. These posters are traditionally designed and produced for New Year celebrations. They show gods, animals and babies enacting Chinese folklore. The style of the posters can be traced back to the Ming Dynasty when woodblock printing was popularised. The stamps, designed by Ying-Min Chu, are intended to evoke a sense of nostalgia while also looking forward to prosperous year ahead.
Take a look at our limited edition coloured, framed gold sheets also available for this issue, click here. A gold-plated medallion is also available, click here.
Date of issue: 7 December 2022