The United States Postal Service (USPS) will issue a special set of stamps to commemorate the Year of the Ox in the Chinese lunar calendar, which will begin on February 12.
The New Year of the Ox series, featuring a decorated ox mask, was designed by art director Antonio Alcalá with original art from artist Camille Chew. It is scheduled for release on February 2, but those interested can place their orders in advance through the USPS official website.
"The star in the center of the ox's head references the celestial theme of the Chinese zodiac," the USPS said in its description of the upcoming collection. The ox is the second of the 12 animal-themed zodiac signs associated with the Chinese lunar calendar, following the rat.
According to the agency, the ox mask in the stamp design incorporates elements and patterns with symbolic meanings, featuring the style of Asian textiles and purple flowers that represent the arrival of spring.
"Calling to mind the elaborately decorated masks used in the dragon or lion dances often performed during Lunar New Year parades, these three-dimensional masks are a contemporary take on the long tradition of paper-cut folk art crafts created during this auspicious time of year," the USPS said in a statement released last November.
The USPS issued the first series of twelve zodiac signs from 1992 to 2005 to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year. The second series was issued from 2008 to 2019, and the third began last year with the Year of the Rat series.
These stamps are being issued as a "Forever stamp," whose face value is equal to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce price, said the USPS. People can buy them online or at local post offices after they're releases.