In time for the Year of the Oxen, this year’s miniature sheet in the Åland stamp series illustrating Chinese horoscope animals with an Åland twist appears on 23 October. Popular artist Martin Mörck has designed a miniature sheet filled with charm and nostalgia.
Oxen were the first draft animals to be used in farming and, once upon a time, so even by Åland farmers. Larger homesteads kept oxen in addition to horses since they could push through wet soil more easily. Oxen dominated in the 1800s, but some were still working for Åland farmers in the 1930s. As models for the 2020 miniature sheet, artist Martin Mörck has used photos from the 1920s of farmer Lennart Karlsson’s working oxen. He farmed the Jonesas homestead in Önningeby, Jomala, the old-fashioned way. During the second world war, when horses were scarce, oxen saved the farmers once again, but the last oxen in Åland apparently went to the butchers in the early 1950s.
In Chinese culture, the ox is a valued animal symbolizing hard work, determination and honesty, among others. Artist Martin Mörck has integrated a few Chinese elements in the motif of this miniature sheet, his fifth design in the stamp series. The flower garlands worn by the oxen illustrate just how valuable and loved they are, and on the potato sacks you will find the Chinese character for potato. Two maximum cards, each with a close-up of a charming ox, complement the stamp issue. The special cancellation on the cards shows a 3600-year-old Chinese character for ox.
|Date of issue||23 October 2020|
|Edition||45 000 miniature sheets|
|Denomination||2 x €1.00|
|Stamp size||52 x 40 mm|
|Sheet size||170 x 95 mm|
|Perforation||13 per 2 cm|
|Printing methof||4-colour offset|
|Printing house||Cartor Security Printing|