Year of the Ox postage stamp

The U.S. Postal Service® has just issued a 42–cent, Celebrating Lunar New Year Year of the Ox commemorative stamp, designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Maryland.

The U.S. Postal Service® introduced its Celebrating Lunar New Year series in 2008. This is the second stamp in that series, which will continue through 2019 with stamps for the Year of the Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar. In 2008, a stamp depicting festive red lanterns was issued to mark the Year of the Rat.

Art Director Ethel Kessler and artist Kam Mak, who grew up in New York City’s Chinatown and now lives in Brooklyn, decided to focus on some of the common ways the Lunar New Year Holiday is celebrated. To commemorate the Year of the Ox, which begins January 26, 2009, they chose a lion head of a type often worn at parades and other festivities. Kessler’s design also incorporates elements from the previous series of Lunar New Year stamps, using Clarence Lee’s intricate paper–cut design of an ox and the Chinese character drawn in grass–style calligraphy by Lau Bun for “Ox.”

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