At 3 pm on January 20th, the stamp album “a New Journey with Oxen” made its debut at Zhejiang Zhu Bingren Bronze Sculpture Museum, located at no. 207-221, Hefang Street, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou. The album was made by Zhu Bingren Arts Post Office and designed by Zhu Bingren, master of Chinese arts and crafts, and inheritor of national intangible cultural heritage of bronze sculptures.
On January 5th 2019, Zhu Bingren Arts Post Office was established at Zhu Bingren Arts Museum in the 798 Art Zone in Beijing, becoming the first post office dedicated to a certain artist’s works in China’s post history. Since then, Zhu would design a stamp album every year according to the Chinese zodiac, to commemorate the founding of the thematic post office, and respond to the expectations of bronze sculpture fans and stamp collectors.
According to Chinese zodiac, 2021 is the year of the ox. The ox is the second of the twelve zodiac animals, corresponding to Chou in the twelve earthly branches.
According to Zhu, in the ancient Chinese dictionary Shuowen Jiezi, the character of “ox” was related to that of “issue”, and the ox-like people are believed to be determined and persistent to tackle one issue after another. When things are done in such a spirit, success will fall into place.
As Zhu’s third thematic stamp album, this year’s stamp album, consisting of stamps and commemorative envelopes, includes two sets of special stamps issued by China Post, six for each set, complemented by Zhu’s two sets of stamps as limited sheetlets.
The first set of stamps, Five Oxen Gather Good Fortune, has an impressive background. The stamps feature the bronze sculpture designed by Zhu based on the painting Five Oxen by Han Huang (723-787), which is one of China’s top 10 ancient paintings. By using traditional techniques honored as national intangible cultural heritage in bronze sculptures, Zhu re-designed the five oxen, making them symbols of longevity, prosperity, health, peace, virtue, and good luck. It is reported that in 2013, the bronze work was given as a gift to heads of state of other countries. The bronze ox statue made by Zhu based on the painting now stands in the Jianting Square in the Forbidden City in Beijing.
The second set of stamps shows the mascot for the year of the ox created by Zhu. The bronze ox displays the traditional pattern of Panchi, which is named after a mythical animal in ancient China. Magnificent and splendid, the masterpiece showcases the unique richness and grandeur of bronze ware. The flowing ribbon and the ox’s posture of stepping on waves not only demonstrate the ox’s indefatigable vigor, but represent wishes for marching ahead and bringing in wealth.
The album also includes Zhu’s other representative bronze ware for the year of the ox, all of which embody best wishes for the new year. He hoped that the glorious bronze art and culture could be a national inspiration for strengthening cultural confidence and realizing national rejuvenation and Chinese dream.
Master Zhu, together with Daily Business, invites bronze fans and stamp collectors to witness this year’s launching ceremony. The first 20 citizens to sign up will get a stamp set worth 268 yuan, the signature of Master Zhu, and a photo with him. Those who fail to make it to top 20 can also get an exquisite gift. For those who are interested, please dial 0571-85051009 of Daily Business to sign up.