To increase R.O.C. citizens' understanding of Taiwanese opera and to celebrate Taiwanese culture, the Directorate General of Posts is releasing a set of Taiwanese Opera postage stamps, which is the first of a series of postage stamps on Chinese regional opera. Each stamp will pay homage to one of four separate elements of Taiwanese opera: (1) the noise, festivity and excitement associated with the performances; (2)the contribution these operas make in passing down the island's traditional arts legacy; (3) their demonstration that women can do everything men can (since women play all the parts, female and male);and (4) and their plots, which reflect the absurdity of real life. The and their plots, which reflect a absurdity of real life. The stamps will have denominations of NT$5.00, NT$6.00, NT$10.00 and NT$25.00. The stamps will feature (1) a festively adorned stage with a crowd gathered around it, (2) a scene of interaction among troupe members in antique garb that conveys the legacy they are passing down, (3) an actress, made up and dressed as a man, playing a male character; and (4)another actress playing the role of a clown. The Directorate commissioned Ming Hwa Yuan Taiwanese Opera Company to plan the stamps.
The tunes of Taiwanese opera originated from the chin-ke tunes that were popular in Jangzhou, Fukien, and were brought to Taiwan by Chinese settlers in the late Ming and early Ching dynasties. Later, ke-tsai-chen developed, which was accompanied. by musical instruments such as yue-chin, er-hu and san-hsien (all of which are string instruments). Whenever people were not busy with farm work, they would gather in plazas where rice was dried or in plazas in front of temples, where they would recite, sing and act scenes using every-day vocabulary and simple movements and facial expressions. This kind of improvisation was called lo-ti-sao. It put little emphasis on make-up and costumes, and the stage was simply the ground between four bamboo poles. This was an inchoate version of Taiwanese opera. The choreography, music and costumes of Taiwanese opera have been heavily influenced by Peking opera. Taiwanese opera contains pleasing displays of martial arts, and its lyrics are easy to understand. During folk celebrations, processions and festivals held after great harvests and in honor of local deities, troupes are often asked to put on shows indoors or out. After 1956, Taiwanese operas have also been performed in theaters and turned into films, as well as being broadcast on television and radio.
(1)First Day Cover in small size to be sold at NT$1.00 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.
(4)Loose-leaf stamp album page with plastic cover to be sold at NT$8.00 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$47.00 apiece.