Those born under the sign of the Rooster are said to be hardworking, courageous, outspoken, honest, and talented; the rooster seems a very apropos symbol when you look at the colorful rendering of the proud beast created by Illustration assistant chair Kam Mak for the new postage stamp. Mak was selected by the U.S. Postal Service in 2008 to create an annual stamp through 2019 for its Celebrating Lunar New Year series. Upcoming stamps will honor the years of the dog and boar. The Year of the Rooster is being issued as a souvenir sheet of 12 self-adhesive Forever stamps.
Following the concept of using the Lunar New Year elements, Mak’s Year of the Rooster stamp is adorned with a still-life painting of the Chinese red envelope— called hongbao in Mandarin and lai see in Cantonese—decorated with the majestic rooster on the cover. Art director and stamp designer Ethel Kessler worked again with Mak on this stamp, incorporate elements from the previous series of Lunar New Year stamps to create continuity, like the calligraphic symbols on the left-hand side.
“The Chinese red envelope painting was inspired by my fond memories as a kid receiving lai see from my parents and relatives,” says Mak. “This custom put a big smile on my face. I still can recall the thrill of taking peep inside the red envelope to see how much money was there and dreaming how I would spend the lai see money at the end of the holiday. Now I am married and following the tradition; it is my turn to give lai see to my children and all my nieces and nephews during the Lunar New Year.”
The U.S. Postal Service will launch Year of the Rooster stamp in Seattle on January 15 with a first day–issue ceremony at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience.
For more information, contact Mak, 212 217.5830.