Research on Sun Yat-sen

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Sun Yat-sen First-day Covers

The postal reform proposed by Sir Rowland Hill in 1837 has triggered the issuance of postage stamps across the globe. Since then, there has been a steady growth in interest in topical stamp collecting. Collecting the broad range of postage stamps design types among stamp collectors has become a fashion, and this practice has given rise to the birth of philatelic products like First-day cover and stamp pack.

Yet, postage stamps are also used for propaganda purposes. With many eminent historical figures and political leaders being depicted on the postage stamps, this helps the spread of nationalism and cult of personality via the postal system across the globe.

Undeniably, Dr. Sun Yat-sen remains a popular historical figure in mainland China, as his commemorative stamps are regularly issued by the China Post. The fact that many countries have issued commemorative stamps of Dr. Sun Yat-sen suggests that Dr. Sun enjoys a high international reputation. Thanks to the growing sophistication of the new cultural history, historians have shifted their focus of attention to the historical evolution of the posthumous image (and the power relations) of Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Accordingly, through studying the pictorial representation of Dr. Sun Yat-sen in commemorative stamps and first-day covers, this project attempts to take alternative perspectives by examining the relationship between pictorial images, stamps and propaganda, as well as the historical construction of memory.

Research findings: