Zou Jianjun (Chinese, B. 1943) "Year of the Tiger" Stamped in the lower left. Original Watercolor painting.
Provenance: Collection of James A. Helzer (1946-2008), Founder of Unicover Corporation.
This painting appeared on the Fleetwood First Day Cover for the 32c The Year of the Tiger Lunar New Year Series stamp issued January 5, 1998.
The Chinese calendar, or Sheng Xiao, is a combination of symbolism and mathematical complexities. The Sheng Xiao dates back to antiquity, possibly originating during the reign of Emperor Huang in 2637 B.C. Inscriptions of this system on animal bones have been excavated at the Yin Ruins of Anyang, Henan. Twelve animals are associated with the calendar -- the rat, ox, tiger, hare, dragon, serpent, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and boar. The Sheng Xiao consists of repeating 12 year cycles, with 1998 being the Year of the Tiger. Those born in a given year are said to share that animal's character traits. Thus, people born during the Year of the Tiger are powerful, ambitious, determined, yet also kind. One of the legends surrounding the origins of this system tells how Buddha ascended to heaven. Twelve animals came to send him off and Buddha assigned them their places in the calendar according to the order of their arrival. The rat showed up first and the boar last. In ancient times, the Sheng Xiao played a great role in people's lives by providing guidance in decisions regarding marriage and childbirth. The Chinese year begins with the second new moon after the winter solstice, sometime between January 21 and February 20. Unlike the Western New Year, which is always January 1st, the Chinese New Year can fall on any of 31 days. New Year's Day is a time of great celebration and is the most important day in the Chinese calendar.
Image Size: 12.25 x 11 in.
Overall Size: 14.5 x 12.5 in.
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