Most classic Chinese novels give expression to such traditional Chinese virtues as patriotism, loyalty, benevolence and justice. Having previously released stamp sets on “Journey to the West” in 1997 and on “Dream of the Red Chamber” in 1998, the Directorate General of Posts has now chosen the popular classic “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms” as the subject of a series of stamps. Scheduled to be released on April 12, 2000, the first set of the series includes “A Gathering of Three Heroes,” “Guan Yu Reading at Night,” “Three Visits to the Thatched Cottage” and “Filling Boats with Bundles of Straw to Acquire Arrows.” At the same time, a souvenir sheet will be released. The stamps were planned by Mr. Wu Hong-yi, a professor of Chinese at National Taiwan University.
The Era of the Three Kingdoms was a time of wartime turmoil and chaos, when men battled with arms and wits. The author of this book took historical records and folk legends and then added his ample imagination and excellent writing skills to create this literary masterpiece. His characterizations of these historical figures are widely known among Chinese. Among them are Chu-Ko Liang, wise and full of stratagems; Guan Yu, loyal and just; Liu Bei, determined and lenient; and Tsao Tsao, who gives orders to feudal princes in name of the emperor.
The following is a brief introduction to the designs of the first four stamps:
A Gathering of Three Heroes: Liu-bei, Guan Yu and Chang Fei swear brotherhood in a peach orchard. This is the opening of the whole book.
Guan Yu Reading at Night: Guan Yu, not tempted by money or material gain as offered by Tsao Tsao, escorts the wives of Liu Bei back to the Kingdom of Shu. On the way, they stay in a government station house. This stamp shows him reading at night. He has set his heart on guarding his sister-in-laws and does not dare to go to sleep.
Three Visits to the Thatched Cottage: Liu Bei is courteous to the wise and condescending to those in possession of just book learning. Liu visits Chu-Ko Liang three times to ask for his assistance. Moved by Liu’s sincerity, Chu-Ko Liang agrees to leave the mountain to assist Liu, a task to which he devotes himself until death.
Filling Boats with Bundles of Straw to Acquire Arrows: Chu-Ko Liang and Chou Yu engage in a battle of wits. Chu-Ko Liang fills boats with bundles of straw to acquire arrows from the enemy, demonstrating intelligence and courage.
(1)First Day Cover in small size to be sold at NT$2.00 apiece.First Day Cover in large size to be sold at NT$3.00 apiece.(2)Folder especially prepared for the stamps to be sold at NT$5.00 apiece.(3)Folder with crystal mount for better protection stamps of the stamps to be sold at NT$5.00 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$5.50 apiece.(6)Pre-cancelled First Day Cover affixed with a complete set of stamps to be sold at NT$34.00 apiece.(7)Pre-cancelled First Day Cover affixed with a Souvenir sheet to be sold at NT$35.00 apiece.(8)Pictorial to be sold at NT$250.00 apiece with a total of 50,000 copies. Mr.Ben Wang delicately plans this pictorial. The pictorial will consist of one set of four postage stamps, one souvenir sheet and four color postcards, which can be drawn out. Chinese and English interpretations with relative photographs will be used to vividly portray the four main characters:the lenient Liu Bei,the loyal and just Guan Yu,the upright Chang Fei and the resourceful Chu-Ko Liang. It gives an opportunity for the stamp collectors to review the striking plots of the magnificent Chinese classic novel.This item is certainly suitable for both gifts and collectibles.