To celebrate the Year of the Tiger, a number of countries have issued limited-edition stamps with intricately detailed designs and meaningful elements rooted in their respective cultures and traditions.
There is still no mention of Pos Malaysia Berhad participating in the festivities with its own tiger collection (at the time of publication). However, there is no shortage of magnificent Chinese New Year stamps being published worldwide to pique the interest of philatelists and art enthusiasts.
Here are our top picks:
This cute and crafty stamp series is a blast from the past. Illustrated by Lim An-Ling for Singapore Post, this tiger series is inspired by the ancient Chinese tradition of paper-cutting, dating back to the second century. It is arguably one of China’s oldest and most popular folk art forms. For this stamp series, the tiger looks more like a psychedelic cat, with a lotus flower marking on its body and the Chinese word for "king" on its forehead. Lim features two types of tigers: the typical orange coloured beast and the other a white tiger, with little cubs running all over its body.
The United Nations
The UN Postal Administration (UNPA) starts a new Chinese zodiac cycle series with its Tiger stamp offering. The stamp depicts the majestic beast roaming through a thick patch of flowers, which are outlined in gold, set against a white backdrop. A white UN emblem is also set against a taupe background. This tiger stamp series is designed by Chinese artist Pan Hu, who also worked on the UNPA’s 2018 Year of the Dog stamp series.
Who says tigers have to look ferocious? Award-winning artist and illustrator Chrissy Lau designs a playful tiger stamp series for Australia Post. This is not the first time Sydney-based illustrator Lau’s work has been featured in a national series. Her work was once featured on coins by the Royal Australian Mint. The tigers resemble the "lucky cat" figurines. These Japanese-inspired symbols of good fortune, wealth, and prosperity are called maneki-neko. They are a familiar sight at the entrances to small Asian businesses, their raised paws beckoning customers in. Each beckoning tiger is adorned with a variety of traditional symbols, including endless knots, fu decorations, and golden cumquats for good luck; a tiger cub to represent the importance of family; plum blossoms to symbolise hope and perseverance; and firecrackers which are frequently used during festivities. Gold and red are prominent, as they are symbolic of wealth and good fortune.
China Post will be issuing a set of two special stamps, named Guo Yun Chang Long (a prosperous China) and Hu Yun Ji Xiang (tiger of good fortune) this Chinese New Year. The first stamp features a kingly tiger peering into the distance with its steely eyes. This symbolises determination and ambition. The second stamp shows a cute and warm scene where a gentle mother tiger cares for her two adorable baby tigers. This stamp symbolises family harmony and joyous reunions during the festive season.
The United States
This tiger stamp series by the US Postal Service is designed by Camille Chew. She used "Shere Khan", we mean, the Bengal tiger as her subject, appearing in the form of a tiger mask, rich with symbolic elements. For starters, orange is used as the dominant colour. It is characteristic of Bengal tigers' markings and is said to be one of the lucky colours for those born in the Year of the Tiger. There are also green flowers which symbolise the arrival of spring. And the motif just above the tiger's head – printed in purple foil – alludes to the Chinese zodiac's celestial themes.