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Fiercer dragon on stamp stirs debate

By Zhao Wen (Shanghai Daily)

14:59, January 04, 2012

The Year of the Dragon stamps to be issued by China Post tomorrow have sparked a heated debate on the Internet, as some web users say the dragon looks fierce and sinister, which goes against the traditional auspicious meaning of dragons in China.

The release of the zodiac stamps, which depict a coiling dragon with a golden head and colorful whiskers, has been known since last month.

China Post said the design derives from the pattern on "dragon robes" worn by Chinese emperors in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The bright colors, however, draw upon the famous Nine Dragons Wall in the Forbidden City in Beijing that is made of colored glaze tiles.

"This dragon indicated a sense of dignity, severity and integrity. The cheerful colors on its body presented a festive atmosphere to celebrate the coming Chinese lunar New Year, bringing people power and confidence," said Feng Shula, a China Post official.

But some netizens pointed out the dragon looks angry and ambitious, which differs significantly from the traditional Chinese legend in which the dragon is regarded as a divine beast and is said to be a deliverer of good fortune and a master of authority.

"I was frightened at my first look at this dragon. Isn't it growling at someone?" wrote a netizen named "Summer" on her microblog.

But some supporters said they liked the design because it looked alive and vigorous.

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