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Zodiac animals stamp their mark

STAMPS of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac have been issued in more than 80 countries over 59 years to become the world's longest-running stamp theme, according to an expert yesterday.

Since 1950, 80 countries have issued more than 2,000 stamps depicting the traditional Chinese zodiac animal signs, or shengxiao, said Zhou Zhihua, senior member of the All-China Philatelic Federation, at the ongoing World Stamp Exhibition in Luoyang City in central China's Henan Province. About 2,000 years ago, the Chinese began to use 12 animals in a cycle to represent the lunar years. The zodiac sequence starts with rat, followed by ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.


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