|Stamp Name||Special 429 Regional Opera Series-Taiwanese Puppet Postage Stamps (A World at One's Fingertips)|
|Stamp Cat Standard||Special Stamps|
|Dimension of stamps(mm.)||40 x 30 （mm）|
|Size of souvenir Sheet (mm.)|
|Printer||China Color Printing Co., Ltd., R.O.C.|
|Designer||Tsao Chih—wei, Hsu Tsung—chieh|
|Sheet composition||20 ( 5 x 4 )
|Process||Deep etch offset|
|Paper||Phosphorescent stamp paper
|Perforation||11 1/2 x 11|
Taiwanese Puppet Theater is a form of art very familiar to people in the Republic of China. Though quite small, these puppets are able to express a wide range of poses that convey the complexity of the human condition and are thus able to move the hearts of those in the audience. To celebrate Taiwan's culture and to give people more knowledge about Taiwanese puppet theater, the Directorate is planning a series of "Regional Opera--Taiwanese Puppet" postage stamps. The first set will include four stamps, each featuring a famous character from Taiwanese puppet theater that is representative of different role types in Chinese opera, such as male roles, female roles, painted-face roles and clownish roles. The stamps
will have denominations of NT$5.00, NT$6.00, NT$10.00 and NT$25.00. The stamps were planned by Pili Multimedia Inc., painted by Mr. Tsao Chih-wei and Mr. Hsu Tsung-chieh, and printed in color deep-etch offset by China Color Printing Co. Ltd.
Taiwanese puppet theater came to Taiwan at around the beginning of the 19th century. Its origins may well be chien-tan-hsi (shoulder carried theater) performed by wandering street performers in Mainland China, and its puppets probably evolved from small rod puppets. For the convenience of traveling, the puppets became smaller and smaller until one could easily fit on a performer's hand. The art form is, therefore, also known as hand-puppet theater.
Brief introductions to the stamps' designs follow:
(1) Male role: The stamp features Mozhaonu (Mr. Equal) of Thunder Storm. He holds his weapon, a folding fan, in his hand. Representing justice, he is clever, thorough in his planning, and scholarly. He is, moreover, the kind of guy who would sacrifice himself for a friend. The background of the stamp shows him talking all night with his pal Su Huan-chen (Susu) at his residence.
(2) Female role: The stamp features Taiyangnu (Sun Fairy) of Rising Winds, Surging Clouds. She has bright eyes and blonde hair, which is decorated with turquoise blue tassels. Her smile captivates many men. The four male characters on the top right corner of the stamp are her admirers.
(3) Painted-face role: The stamp features Kuangdao (Crazy Blade) of Thunder Crazy Sword. His hair is like the mane of a lion. He holds a lion head sword in his hand, which makes him look both strong and powerful. The background of the stamp shows the image in his memory of his considerate lover Mu Rong-chan.
(4) Clownish role: The stamp features Chin Chia-chien (The Fake Fairy Chin) of Thunder Golden Light. This character does not have a nose. He makes a living through his gift for gab. He is also a great errand runner. He provides "lubrication" to keep the show going. The stamp shows Chin and the show's two other clowns-Ye Tu-ling and In Shi-ren-joking around.
First-day covers, folders with and without crystal mounts and loose-leaf album pages will be released along with the stamps. These will go on sale November 14, 2001. Pre-cancelled FDCs with the full set of stamps or with just one lower-value stamp will go on sale November 16, 2001, the stamps' date of issue. For further information, please refer to the upcoming Philatelic Bulletin or Postal Service Today.