Thursday, April 05, 2007

Beijing opera

I have received recently, from one of my Chinese friends, this set of two FDC bearing the six stamps issued on the 10th of March 2007 and entitled “Sheng roles in Beijing Opera”.

Beijing Opera is a national treasure of China. It has a history of about 200 years. Four major roles are part of it : sheng (male), dan (female), jing (painted face male) and chou (clown, male of female). The “sheng” roles are divided into four sub-roles :
- laosheng : an old or middle-age man wearing a false beard and whiskers who reads the dialectal spoken parts of the play
- xiaosheng : a young man who has a handsome appearance and a gorgeous voice
- wusheng : who is adept of martial arts and who uses them on stage
- wawasheng : a child with a clear voice
Those four roles can be seen on the six colourful stamps of the set.

I like those FDC for several reasons. First of all, I always appreciate more FDC that have actually travelled through the postal service, than “mint” FDC. Those ones came in an extremely good condition, which is rare enough to me mentioned. Then the stamps are rather colourful and attractive, the postmark is clean (which, I must admit, is common on a FDC…).
The last point is that those stamps give us some highlight about Chinese culture. Since I’m a child, I’m fascinated by Chinese theatre and opera, in which I don’t understand anything, but which is always very colourful and so different from what we see here in France.
I always like when stamps illustrate a particular aspect of the culture of the issuing country; After all, isn’t it a bit of the role of stamps, to be small ambassadors of a country in the rest of the world ?

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