Stamp of approval

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China's new set of Chinese zodiac stamps are released on Jan 5 for the Year of the Pig. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Veteran artist Han Meilin is full of festive cheer after designing a Lunar New Year stamp collection for the third time, Wang Kaihao reports. 

At the grand age of 83, Han Meilin, who still has dark hair and a 1-year-old son, continues to prove that, despite his advancing years, he remains full of youthful vigor.

The Year of the Pig is coming, and Han, as one of China's most recognized living artists, is ringing in the Chinese New Year a little bit earlier.

He is presenting no less than 600 new artworks in a show entitled Han Meilin: Chinese Zodiac Art Exhibition, which opened to the public on Sunday at the Hall of Literary Glory in the Palace Museum in Beijing, also known as the Forbidden City.

The Palace Museum was China's imperial palace from 1420 to 1911, and now houses 1.86 million cultural relics.

The opening marked the beginning of the 12th month of the lunar calendar, kicking off the Chinese New Year season.

He announced at a news conference in December that this solo exhibition would have 300-plus exhibits, but, by opening day, the number had doubled.

Han kept working up until the very last moment, with some exhibits signed with the date "Dec 30, 2018".

"In the past 40 years, my art has traveled around the globe," Han says. "Now, it's time to be shown at home. The Palace Museum is the biggest home for traditional Chinese culture. I'd like to share my work with the people and celebrate Spring Festival together with them."

Han has spared no effort to showcase his versatility in the name of spreading auspicious omens in this artistic shrine. The 12 animals from the Chinese zodiac are turned into colorful and highly expressive images in his hands and through diverse forms, including painting, calligraphy, sculpture, porcelain ware and furniture, among other media.

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