On today’s date in 2006, Canada Post issued two Lunar New Year stamps.
It was the 10th issue of the first 12-year Lunar New Year series, which ran from 1997-2008. A second 12-year Lunar New Year series followed from 2009-20, and this month, Canada Post is set to issue a 24-stamp wrap-up of this latest series.
Both long-running issues featured each of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs, including (in sequential order) the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Two stamps – both a domestic and international rate – were issued each year.
‘YEAR OF THE DOG’
According to the traditional Chinese calendar, the 2006 Lunar New Year began on Jan. 29, and like every Chinese year, it’s named after one of the 12 animal signs of the Chinese zodiac.
Each year is said to have the traits of its particular animal sign, and people’s characters are influenced by the signs under which they’re born. For the dog, some of those character traits are loyalty, protectiveness, a strong moral sense and a deep commitment to the welfare of family and friends.
The 10th issue of the first Lunar New Year series consisted of a domestic-rate (51 cents) stamp (Scott #2140) as well as an international-rate ($1.49) souvenir sheet (Scott #2141).
“The premise of the design was the dog as a symbol of protection. That led to the idea of the dog as a gatekeeper, and this is why the dogs in both the stamp and souvenir sheet are placed in arched temple gateways,” said Joe Gault, the issue’s designer. “Protection of the home and family is also a very important part of the dog’s symbolic meaning, and to reflect this, the souvenir sheet portrays a pup along with its father and mother.”
Both the stamp and the souvenir sheet are enriched with two metallic foils and extensive embossing.
“Tilting the stamp makes the foil glisten like glass or water,” added Gault, “and that adds a precious quality that makes them highly collectible.”
“The intricate, multi-level embossing of the dogs is just part of that appeal,” said Alain Leduc, then manager of stamp design and production at Canada Post. “Other subtle details are everywhere, especially on the souvenir sheet. There’s the foil that outlines the temple gates, and at the top corners of the stamp itself there are two special, pointed perforations that symbolize a protecting fence. In the centre, the Chinese characters for the Year of the Dog appear on two embossed red tablets, which are covered with transparent foil to simulate the gloss of Chinese lacquer. And the temple in the background seems to appear through a mist or cloud, as if it were a gate to heaven hanging in the sky.”