World Stamps

The United Nations recognizes Chinese cultural heritage with Aug. 10 issue

Jul 28, 2023, 8 AM
The United Nations Postal Administration will issue stamps and souvenir sheets Aug. 10 recognizing UNESCO intangible cultural heritage from China. UNPA calls this issue Body, Mind and Soul.

By Pete Gibson

In an Aug. 10 issue of three stamps and three souvenir sheets, the United Nations Postal Administration recognizes UNESCO intangible cultural heritage with the theme of “body, mind and soul.”

The issue includes a 66¢ stamp and $1.50 souvenir sheet for the post office at U.N. headquarters in New York City; a 1.10-franc stamp and 2.30fr souvenir sheet for the post office at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; and a €1 stamp and €1.90 souvenir sheet for the post office at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria.

UNESCO defines intangible cultural heritage as “the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills — as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith — that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage.”

UNESCO drafted this definition at the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, held 20 years ago during the UNESCO General Conference in Paris from Sept. 29 to Oct. 17, 2003.

The Aug. 12 Body, Mind and Soul stamps and souvenir sheets represent three culturally significant practices from China: taijiquan, calligraphy, and the guqin instrument and its music.

“When body, mind and soul are in harmony, one experiences good health, inner peace and happiness,” the UNPA said in its Fascination bulletin for collectors.

The 66¢ stamp and $1.50 souvenir sheet portray taijiquan, also known as tai chi, which the UNPA describes as “a traditional physical practice characterized by relaxed, circular movements that works in concert with breath regulation and the cultivation of a righteous and neutral mind.”

The movements of tai chi center around eight hand skill methods called bafa and five steps called wabu. Practitioners of tai chi incorporate these movements in a series of routines and exercises.

Originating in the 17th century, according to UNESCO, tai chi remains popular today due in part to its positive health effects.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, part of the National Institutes of Health, says that tai chi may be beneficial in preventing falls, reducing pain and improving quality of life.

The 1.10fr stamp and 2.30fr souvenir sheet recognize Chinese calligraphy, or the art of drawing Chinese characters.

For ordering information for the Body, Mind and Soul stamps and related products, visit the UNPA website; email; telephone 212-963-7684 or 800-234-8672; or write to UNPA, Box 5900, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163-5900.

To read the full story about the new Body, Mind and Soul stamps, subscribe to Linn’s Stamp News.

Connect with Linn’s Stamp News: 

    Sign up for our newsletter
    Like us on Facebook
    Follow us on Twitter