This stamp issuance is the ninth of 12 in the U.S. Postal Service’s Celebrating Lunar New Year series. The full series was planned out at the start of the project in conversation between the art director and illustrator based on the illustrator’s childhood experiences of celebrating Lunar New Year. They decided the goal for the artwork in this series would be to feature traditional Lunar New Year motifs and items used in the celebration of the holiday.
The illustration—created using oil paints on panel—depicts two bright reddish orange peonies against a purple background. Peonies symbolize wealth and honor in Chinese culture and often decorate the sides of the traditional drums played during the holiday festivities. The stamp art incorporates elements from previous Lunar New Year series, including an intricate cut-paper design of a monkey and the Chinese character for “monkey” drawn in grass-style calligraphy.
Fifteen million stamps were produced and were very well received. Within 10 months 72% of the total print run had sold. This stamp issuance garnered a great deal of media attention in the U.S. and in all of the countries throughout the world that celebrate the Lunar New Year.