In 2014, Chunghwa Post issued its first set of stamps in its Chinese Classic Novel “Red Chamber Dream” series in the order of the chapters. Now it is following up with its 2015 issue of four stamps. The designs follow:
1. Daiyu Burying the Flowers (NT$5): Baoyu’s maid Qingwen refuses to open the door for Daiyu when she comes visit. Daiyu weeps in silence as she mistakenly interprets this as Baoyu’s doing. The next day, when she sees the ground carpeted with fallen petals, she is overcome with sadness again. As she gathers the fallen blossoms to be buried, she compares herself to the fallen petals and laments at her despondency and loneliness. She tearfully mourns the flowers: “The falling twirling petals fill the air, wasting away while no one cares.….” As he listens, Baoyu becomes transfixed and spellbound.
2. Tanchun Starting a Poetry Club (NT$5): Tanchun proposes to establish a poetry club. The first business of the club is for everyone to pick an alias for themselves and to draw up the rules and penalties. Then the topics and rhyme entries are chosen before the members start to write and critique each other’s work. Parties held by the club become a fad in Daguanyuan for a while. The scenes where the girls write and chat and Baoyu jokes around highlight the Jia household’s heyday and add vitality and interest to the book.
3. Granny Liu Touring Daguanyuan (NT$10): Granny Liu follows Grandmother Jia to Daguanyuan, where they party, row boats, and drink tea. To amuse Grandmother Jia, Sister Feng covers Granny Liu’s hair with chrysanthemums. Granny Liu goes along with her jest and plays the fool to make everyone laugh. Through Granny Liu’s touring, the author further describes the extravagant lifestyle of the Jia household, the sumptuous décor of Daguanyuan, and highlights the vivid contrast between Grandmother Jia and Granny Liu’s economic situations.
4. Miaoyu Tasting Tea (NT$25): Miaoyu comes from the gentry class. She is both fastidious and haughty. When it comes to tea, the water she uses is snow water that was collected off of plum blossoms and then buried in the ground in a pot for five years. The tea cups she uses are all valuable antiques. She hands Baochai one with the name “Calabash Cup”, Daiyu “Rhinoceros Cup”, and Baoyu her personal green jade cup. Later she swaps it with a huge goblet decorated with coiled dragon with nine curves, ten rings and 120 knots carved from a whole bamboo root.
To add to collecting interest, “Red Chamber Dream” Postage Stamp Pictorial (I) will be released with the stamps, which contains one set each for the 2014 and 2015 stamp issues and two 20-piece sheetlets of proofs. A deluxe edition with the pictorial packed in a wooden box and one set of six pieces of “Twelve Beauties of Jinling in Red Chamber Dream Postal Cards (I)” will be also released. Elegantly designed, the pictorial is well worth collecting.
(1) First Day Cover: NT$2 apiece (2) Folder (with or without mount): NT$5 apiece (3) Loose-leaf album page: NT$8 apiece (4) Pre-cancelled FDC affixed with one NT$5-denominated stamp: NT$7 apiece (5) Pre-cancelled FDC affixed with a complete set of stamps: NT$47 apiece (6) Stamp pictorial: NT$500 apiece (7) Stamp pictorial in wooden box: NT$900 apiece
To purchase the relative philatelic products, please go directly to the post office branches, or order on line at http://stamp.post.gov.tw.