To increase our citizens' understanding of classical Chinese oral literature (both spoken and sung) and their appreciation for Chinese opera, the Directorate General of Posts is releasing a set of four stamps on the topic:Chinese Classic Opera(Legends of the Ming Dynasty).There will also be a souvenir sheet. The Directorate has commissioned Mr. Wu Hung-yi from National Taiwan University to plan the stamps.
During the Yuan dynasty, northern opera was the most representative form of Chinese opera, but during the Ming dynasty southern-style operas based on legends became prevalent. The following is a brief introduction to the stamp designs:
(1) Wuan Sha Chi (Washing Cotton Yarn): Liang Chenyu's masterpiece, this opera praises the minds of Fan Li and Hsi-shih, who sacrificed their love for the sake of their nation. The stamp depicts Fan Li on a spring tour in Chu-chi, meeting the white-clothed beauty Hsi-shih, who is holding a bamboo pole and washing cotton yarn by the Juoe River.
(2) The story of a Pipa: An early Ming masterpiece by Kao-ming, the opera upholds the principle of filial piety, telling the story of Tsai Pochieh, who married Chao Wuniang before going to take the imperial exam in the capital. When he took top honors, the high-ranking minister Niu forced him to marry his daughter. The opera depicts the sacrifices of Chao Wuniang, showing how she endured great hardship and criticism
without ever complaining. The stamp shows Tsai Pochieh and his second wife Niu looking at the moon, as Tsai dispiritedly thinks of his true love while his new bride Miss Niu looks on happily. Meanwhile, Chao Wuniang, with a pipa (Chinese stringed instrument) on her back, is coming to look for her husband.
(3) The Story of Hung Fu: This is a famous story written by Chang Fengyi. The story describes how Hung Funu meets Li Ching and Curly Beard, and then later meets Li Shihmin, whom she helps to become the emperor. The stamp shows Hung Funu going to see Li Ching at night and surprising him by removing her hat and coat and showing a
determination just as strong as any man's.
(4) Paiyueh Pavilion: Said to be written by Shi Hui, the opera tells the story of Chiang Shih-lung and Wang Jueilan. Its unorthodox ideas towards love and marriage were not confined by the precepts of traditional ethical education. The stamp shows Jueilan, in the still of the night, setting up an incense table in front of the pavilion to pray to the moon: "I only pray that our love lasts forever and that we will look at the same moon even when a thousand miles apart."
(1)First Day Cover in small size to be sold at NT$1.00 apiece.
First Day Cover in large size to be sold at NT$2.00 apiece.
(2)Folder especially prepared for the stamps to be sold at NT$2.00 apiece.
(3)Folder with crystal mount for better protection of the stamps to be sold at NT$4.00 apiece.
Folder with crystal mount for better protection of the souvenir sheet to be sold at NT$8.00 apiece.
(4)Loose-leaf stamp album page with plastic cover to be sold at NT$16.00 apiece.
(5)Pre-cancelled First Day Cover affixed with a low-valued stamp to be sold at NT$6.00 apiece.
(6)Pre-cancelled First Day Cover affixed with a complete set of stamps to be sold at NT$39.00 apiece.
(7)Pre-cancelled First Day Cover affixed with a souvenir sheet to be sold at NT$39.00 apiece.