Giuseppe Castiglione was an Italian. In 1715, as a Jesuit missionary, he came to China, where he took the Chinese name Lang Shining. He worked as a court painter in the Qing court and served the emperors Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong. As someone who participated in many painting projects for the court, Castiglione was a marvelous cultural asset for global cultural exchange during the 18th century.
2015 marks the 300th anniversary of his arrival in China. To celebrate this event, the National Palace Museum is putting on a special exhibition highlighting his life and his art. In coordination with the show, Chunghwa Post selected five paintings from the exhibition for a set of four stamps and a souvenir sheet. The designs follow:
(1) Gathering of Auspicious Signs, Lang Shining, Qing dynasty; Hanging scroll (NT$5): This painting depicts a celadon vase filled with plants that signify auspiciousness, including lotus flowers, lotus seed-pods, and ears of rice. This is Castiglione’s earliest dated work.
(2) Long-haired Dog Beneath Blossoms, Lang Shining, Qing dynasty; Hanging scroll (NT$5): This painting depicts a brown puppy next to a garden rock beneath a blossoming peach tree. The puppy has a white chest and front legs, and an upturned tail. Its head is turned towards its back as if it is distracted by something and has stopped in its tracks to check it out. It is very cute.
(3) Ayusi Sweeping Bandits with a Lance, Lang Shining, Qing dynasty; Handscroll (NT$9): Ayusi was a Zunghar from Xinjiang. After being sentenced to dismemberment for the crime he committed, he escaped and defected to the Qing court. Upon hearing about his bravery and his military skills, Emperor Qianlong summoned him, bestowing him with silver and appointing him as an imperial guard. In 1755, Ayusi won his fame at attacking Gadan-Ola and quelled the rebellion. For this, Emperor Qianlong wrote an ode and commissioned Castiglione to paint this portrait.
(4) Cochin Lemur, Lang Shining, Qing dynasty; Hanging scroll (NT$9): Painted in 1761, this painting possibly depicts a ring-tailed lemur from Madagascar. However, according to the inscription on the painting, Emperor Qianlong thought it was an animal called a guoran from Cochin (today’s Vietnam).
2. Souvenir Sheet: including two stamps (NT$70 and NT$12)
It features Golden Pheasant in Spring, Lang Shining, Qing dynasty; Hanging scroll. The painting depicts two pheasants perched on a garden rock beside a mountain stream. Surrounding the rock are flowers, bamboo and spirit fungi, bringing to mind the Chinese expression "a brocade of spring radiance." To make it more interesting for stamp collectors and to do this ancient painting justice, the souvenir sheet will be printed on silk paper.
Also released is a pictorial presenting Castiglione’s five classic paintings through tiny stamps. The pictorial demonstrates his splendid creativity. It is elegantly and gracefully designed and welcomes your patronage.
(1) First Day Cover in large size: NT$3 apiece
(2) Folder (with or without mount): NT$8 apiece
(3) Folder with mount for souvenir sheet: NT$8 apiece
(4) Loose-leaf album page: NT$20 apiece
(5) Maximum cards: NT$40 a set
(6) Pre-cancelled FDC affixed with one NT$5-denominated stamp: NT$8 apiece
(7) Pre-cancelled FDC affixed with a complete set of stamps: NT$31 apiece
(8) Pre-cancelled maximum cards: NT$68 apiece
(9) Stamp pictorial: NT$680 a copy
To purchase the relative philatelic products, please go directly to the post office branches, or order on line at http://stamp.post.gov.tw.