Beijing, Jan 5 (IANS) China has launched a postage stamp for the upcoming "Year of Snake" depicting a reptile that carries a bright pearl in its mouth in gratitude for the man who saved its life.
The stamp, with a face value of 1.20 yuan (19 cents), looks "flowery and auspicious", in contrast to the "fierce-looking dragon" on the stamp of the current Year of Dragon, the Shanghai Daily reported.
The snake is the sixth among the 12 Chinese zodiac signs. In Chinese folklore, the snake is often depicted as evil, but sometimes also as "calm, wise, flexible and cautious", said Wu Guanying, designer of the stamp.
Wu said he got the idea from an ancient Chinese story.
The stamp features a colourful snake holding a golden pearl in its mouth. It has a pink peony flower on its head signifying riches and honour.
Its body carries a peach blossom, lotus, chrysanthemum and plum blossom, each representing one of the four seasons. Its tail is in the shape of a ganoderma, a mushroom auspicious in China.