Thursday, April 21, 2016

Verse of Song Dynasty

China has a long and rich literary tradition, of which includes many forms of poetry and verse. Ci poetry came about during the Tang Dynasty, however only came to its fullest array during the Song Dynasty, when the style was formatted and regularised.

Ci 词 lyrics, perhaps one of the most beautiful, sorrowful and tangible, are arranged to the tune of traditional songs, known as cipai 词牌. A ci poet would typically choose from a set of about 800 traditional tunes and insert his verse to fit the rhythm and metre of the song's melody.

The China National Philatelic Corporation has issued a set of six stamps and first day covers featuring the Ci of the Song Dynasty - depicting the following six poetry.

Cover 1

Sand of Silk Washing 浣溪沙
by Yan Shu 晏殊

This poem expresses the sentiment about Spring, containing the reflection of life. The poem reiterates the topic by clinging to the new and the old, the gone and the coming, and the changing and the unchanging. The two lines starting with "helplessly" regret the past with the first line, and greet the new with the second.

Cover 2

Meditating on the Past at Chibi 念奴娇 . 赤壁怀古
by Su Shi 苏轼

This poem was composed when Su Shi was demoted to Hangzhou, and it expresses the author's admiration for heroes and his sentiment about the emptiness of human life. The poem starts in a grand heroic air, relating natural scenes in the presence to the thinking of history, while the second stanza tells Zhou Yu's achievement.

Cover 3

Fairy of the Magpie Bridge 鹊桥仙
by Qin Guan 秦观

This poem tells the tale of Niu Lang (牛郎) and Zhi Nu (织女). The two lines beginning with "golden breeze" depict the joyful gathering of Niu Lang and Zhi Nu, while the three lines beginning with "tenderness" represent the touching affection when they stayed together and the sadness of parting. The last two lines display the author's attitude towards love.

Cover 4

A Twig of Plum Blossoms 一剪梅
by Li Qingzhao 李清照

This poem expresses the yearning between lovers. The three lines beginning with "this feeling" are wonderfully conceived, and indicate the subtle psychology and deep affection of the author, while "cai xia" (to have just gotten off) and "you shang" (to step again) depict the endless lingering of lovesickness.

Cover 5

Ode to the Wintersweet 卜算子 . 咏梅
by Lu You 陆游

This poem describes various victimisations, giving one foil after another to the moral courage of wintersweets. The first stanza describes miserable and desolate environment where wintersweets grow, and the loneliness and distress they suffer. The second stanza depicts the character of wintersweets : high-hearted, scorning to compete with other flowers during Spring. Despite being delicate, wintersweets display their unchangeable sublime spirit, filling people with strength.

Cover 6

A Poem to Chen Tongfu in a Heroic Vein 破阵子 . 为陈同甫赋壮语以寄
by Xin Qiji 辛弃疾

A patriotic poem full of heroism, this poem describes a military life. The author imagines himself as a hero in his prime, and galloped into the battlefields. For the country, he recovered lost territories, while for himself, he became a hero. However, in the end, he suddenly fell back to reality - he gained nothing but instead was filled with distress due to disillusion, and grief and indignation for having no opportunity to serve his motherland.


Date of Issue : 31 Aug 2012
Postmark : China
Denomination : CNY0.80, 4 x CNY1.20 and CNY3.00
Stamp Size : 40mm x 35mm
Printing Process : Offset


Another memento from my last trip to Guangzhou. Got it from the China National Philatelic Outlet in Beijing Lu Pedestrian Mall :)

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