Postal Service Releases Kam Mak’s Year of the Dog Stamp

postage stamp with 3 leafy curling bamboo pieces and Chinese calligraphy
The USPS Year of the Dog stamp, featuring an illustration by Professor Kam Mak.

The U.S. Postal Service released the second to last stamp in its Celebrating Lunar New Year series, which features an illustration by Kam Mak, Illustration. This year’s stamp represents the Year of the Dog. Mak was selected to illustrate the series when it began in 2008 and will continue the series through 2019 with a stamp for the Year of the Boar.  The Year of the Dog has been issued as a souvenir sheet of 12 self-adhesive Forever stamps.

The Year of the Dog stamp continues the concept of using the Lunar New Year symbols to highlight the customs and tradition of the New Year celebration. Mak chose three stalks of lucky bamboo to symbolize three types of good fortune: fu (happiness), lu (wealth), and soh (long life). He says, “The bamboo stalks are artistically curving and twisting, which symbolizes life’s paths. Though the journey may be fraught with twists and turns, the budding leaves on top are always optimistically facing upwards to heaven.”

“The red ribbon of fate floats throughout the middle,” Mak says, “signifying joy and rebirth, entwining us together in peace and cooperation while anchoring us firmly to the earth.”

The stamp was art directed by Ethel Kessler who has worked with Mak on all the others in the series. This stamp design also incorporates two elements from the previous series of Lunar New Year stamps: Clarence Lee’s intricate cut-paper design of a dog and the Chinese character for “dog,” drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun.

A stamp signing event will be held at Pearl River Mart’s Chelsea Market location Saturday, Feb. 17, from 1 to 3 p.m.

To learn more about Mak’s process in creating these stamps, watch this interview on CUNY TV’s Asian American Life.

For more information, contact Mak, (212) 217-5830.


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