To meet demand among philatelists and promote Chinese culture, Chunghwa Post has once again asked the National Palace Museum to suggest "Bird Manual" works by palace painters during the Ching dynasty as the basis for 4 stamps to be released on September 10, 2003. (Earlier sets of Bird Manual Stamps were issued in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002.) The four birds chosen for the stamps are the White-throated Laughing Thrush, Great Mynah, Yellow-legged Buttonquail and the Crested Lark. Chien Sung-tsun of the National Palace Museum is in charge of planning the stamps.
There are a total of 60 page spreads in the National Palace Museum’s Bird Manual collection. Chunghwa Post has once again chosen four of these for a set of stamps. Exquisite parts of the paintings have been chosen for the stamps and removed from their original backgrounds. A brief introduction of the stamps taken from the bird manual follows:
(1) White-throated Laughing Thrush: Similar in appearance to a shrike, the white-throated laughing thrush has red irises and black pupils, a sharp black beak, and head feathers that resemble a turban. It has a patch of white feathers on each of its black cheeks. It is green from head to tail, with black skinny feet and claws. Its cheeks are flecked with white spots, and its song is as clear as an oriole’s. The male has a long tail and a long call. The female has a short tail and a short call. It likes to live by the water, and it adjusts its voice to match the sound of water.
(2) Great Mynah: It has greenish black eyes, with a dot on its beak. It is black all over except for a patch of white feathers on each of its wings. There are some white dots on its tail. It has yellow feet and black claws and likes to bathe in the water. Its tongue is forked. The ancients would sometimes cut its tongue to mimic the human tongue and then teach it to speak. The bird is exceptionally good at mimicking people. Smarter ones can learn many kinds of sounds and utter them with clearer pronunciation than parrots. The Great Mynah is also known as the wise bird.
(3) Yellow-legged Buttonquail: It has black eyes rimmed with white, a yellow beak, and yellow spots on its cheeks. There are scale-like yellow patterns on its blue-black crown. It has black horizontal strips on its back, yellow shoulders, and wings with black spots and gray edging. Its breast is yellow with large black markings. It has greenish yellow tail, yellow feet, and no back toe and claw.
(4) Crested Lark: It has green markings on its head, a crest, green beak, black eyes enriched with a thin white line, white eyebrows, a green spotted body, and neck, back and wings that are green and black. It has a largely green tail with some black feathers. It has yellow spurs and bluish green claws. It has very long back claws.
(1) First Day Cover in small size to be sold at NT$2.00 apiece.
(2) Folder especially prepared for the stamps to be sold at NT$5.00apiece.
(3) Folder with crystal mount for better protection of the stamps to be sold at NT$5.00apiece.
(4) Loose-leaf stamp album page with plastic cover to be sold at NT$8.00apiece.
(5) Pre-cancelled First Day Cover affixed with a low-valued stamp to be sold at NT$7.00apiece.
(6) Pre-cancelled First Day Cover affixed with a complete set of stamps to be sold at NT$49.00apiece.
(7) Maximum cards of National Palace Museum’s Bird Manual Postage Stamps comprising 4 stamps to be sold at NT$97.00apiece.