Last week I posted a thank you stamp featuring an art by Degas of a ballet dancer. It reminded me of this 1973 Chinese issue that I saw recently in a club book. (That’s philatelist talk. Best not to ask.) It depicts a ballet called The White-Haired Girl, one of the Eight Model Plays engineered by Mrs Mao during the complicated Chinese political shenanigans of the time. I’m not kidding anyone, am I? I got that off Wikipedia and you can too.
I mainly love this pert babe. The composition of this stamp is just stunning. The colours emit a classic Asian 70s vibe without going all mid-priced Vietnamese restaurant. Her left foot is so en pointe, she almost bounces and pirouettes before your eyes. And look how her right leg is almost parallel to her rifle.
Wait, what? A RIFLE? Wow. The Chinese are deadly serious about their ballet, aren’t they? If I were one of those swans from Swan Lake I’d be steering clear of her. She’s a peasant, she’d shoot anything for a meal.
If I have one criticism it’s that the shadow on the mountain contradicts the shadow of her foot. But of course, being a ballet, we would assume the mountain is painted on a backdrop and the foot’s shadow is being caused by the stage lighting. It’s not her fault, I’m just saying the production designer has embarrassed everyone here and clearly needs to be sent to a reeducation camp. But I can’t tell HER that, can I? She’d blow my bloody brains out.
Hot tip. Chinese stamps from this era are attracting big money. But wade in carefully, especially online. Frauds and forgers abound. Where’s that rifle-toting ballerina when you need one?
© Philatelic product images remain the copyright of issuing postal administrations and successor authorities