Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hong Kong - Serving The Community 1996

Hong Kong - Chinese Opera

Hong Kong - Chinese Festival

Fiji - Traditional Fijian Dances 1999

20th January 1999

Meke is the Fijian expression for a traditional dance, usually performed by a group a dancer arranged in one or more rows, with music provided by singers and instrumentalists seated behind them. It is by far the most impressive and spectacular expression of Fijian performing artistry. The dancers still dress in colourful traditional costumes with floral garlands and ornaments, and liberal use of bright red and black face and body paint, though there have been some adaptations to changing times, especially for women. The most common accessory is the iri ni meke, an ornamental fan made of the leaf of the fan-palm (Pritchardia sp) that is tucked in at the back of the waist when not in use.

The words of meke are often historical, telling the story of a remarkable event or a prominent person’s life, though some are prophetic. The tradition is very much alive – meke are still being composed regularly by hereditary composers (daunivucu or vuniduvu). They also still function as a focus of traditional identity and cohesion, with the positioning of performers determined in part by hereditary status.

The harmony is in at least three parts, usually four, and is typically accompanied by one lali ni meke (small drum of a hollowed out log with slit opening), with rhythm provided by a number of derua (bamboo stamping tubes) and cobo (clapping with hollowed hands).

Most meke begin with a distinct stanza to accompany the dancers as they emerge in single file to take up their places. During the performance, the audience show their appreciation not by applause, but by shouting words of thanks and going to the performers and draping over them lengths of cloth, or give them sweets, chewing gum, or cash, or shower them with perfumed oil or talcum powder.

Meke are still loved by all people of Fiji, and are an indispensable part of any grand occasion.

The different types of meke featured in this set of stamps are as follows:


Vakamalolo (sitting dance). A lively dance in which performers sit in a line, often using an iri ni meke (ornamental fan). It is performed by men or women, rarely if ever mixed. At the beginning, the dancers often have their backs turned to the audience, then gradually turn (taiki) to face them.


Meke i Wau (club dance). A war-like meke for men, said to have originated as a preparation for warfare, lively and gymnastic. The performers are dressed as traditional warriors and each carries a particular type of club with a curved end.


Seasea (women’s fan dance). The most graceful of Fijian meke, performed only by women. There is very little movement of the feet, most of the action being with the iri ni meke and with subtle movements of the head and upper body.


Meke ni yaqona - Formal chant accompanying the chiefly kava ceremony, solemn and rich in harmonies. All participants are seated, except for the man who serves the kava, who is also the main performer. Many meke ni yaqona are so old that the meaning of the words is largely lost. It is very impressive in its sacredness.

Technical Details:

Title: Traditional Fijian Dances
Values: 13c, 81c, 87c, $3
Designer: Terry Crilley
Printer: Southern Colour Print - NZ
Process: Litho Offset
Stamp Size: 27.94 x 44.45 mm
Stamp Format: Landscape
Set: 50 (2 x 25)
Perforation Gauge: 14.32 x 14.85 mm
Paper: Peterborough Paper Converters

Cocos (Keeling) Islands - Festival Season

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Thailand - Tango & Thai Dances

USA - Indian Dances

Tuvalu - Christmas 1994

Malaysia - Kebaya Nyonya

Technical Details:
Date of Issue: 02 November 2002
Denomination :30 Cent (2 designs); 50 Cent (2 designs)
Stamp Size: 28.46mm x 42.58mm
Miniature Sheet Denomination: RM2.00
Miniature Sheet Size: 70mm x 100mm
Stamp Size in Miniature Sheet: 35mm x 70mm
Perforation: 13
Sheet Content: 10 Stamps
Paper: SPM Watermarked, Phosphor Coated
Printing Process: Lithography

Kebaya Nyonya:

When the Nyonyas first donned the baju panjang, the long, Arab-inspired top made of woven cotton (known in Arabic as habaya), little did they know that the garment would become the Malaysian fashion icon that it is today. Through the years, the progeny of those first ladies have creatively taken the best of influences around them and adapted this garment. Unwittingly or not, they have taken a costume that was once traditional, plain and have straight in cut, and turned it into a shapely, decorative work of sensual art. This evolution was in part facilitated by the availability of new fabrics. With the advent of softer and synthetically colored voile, the baju panjang gradually evolved into more comfortable garment as compared to her highly starched predecessor. With the hot climate and their exposure to European blouses and lace, the practical Nyonyas shortened the dress top to hip length and enhanced its beauty with lace trimming along the fringes of the tunic.

This became the kebaya (be) rendah. Attracted by the colorful Nyonyas picked up their embroidery needles and multi-hued treads and sought to carry the patterns from the sarongs over onto the top. Thus was born the embroidered voile kebaya.

Initial pieces were painstakingly and lovingly hand-embroidered but this process was later quickened with the apperance of sewing machines. Such fine handiwork - usually with one-off designs that made them exclusively to the owner - became the pride of the wearer. Most of the embroidered motifs were repetitive and adapted from either single or an assortment of flowers, insects, fishes, and fruits while some were thematic and based on certain festivities such as weddings, Easter, and other festivities. The main motifs were further highlighted when set against an intricate web-like base of time-consuming embroidered cut-work. Heavily embroidered kebayas are worn during festive gatherings while simple scallop-edged ones are for daily activities. Brightly colored fabric and exuberant embroidery are said to suit younger maidens while older womenfolk prefer more subdued tones. White, blue or green ones are reserved for mourning or to attend wakes.

This lovely piece of art is traditionally worn with matching batek kerosang. Sadly, the artisans producing these lovely kebayas are diminishing as tastes and fashions change. With this in mind, YA Bhg Datin Seri Endon Mahmood, wife of Deputy Prime Minister YAB Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, has been collecting them over the past decade and taken the liberty to record these cultural treasures for posterity in her book entitled The Nyonya Kebaya. It is hoped that with this book, interest in this cultural heritage of ours will be rejuvenated and interest in wearing the Nyonya Kebaya rekindled.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009

USA - State Flags

Indonesia - Traditional Costumes 2000 28v -- FOR SWAP

Thailand - Traditional Dances

Laos - Art of Lao Textiles 2003

Cambodia - Traditional Dances

USA - Worker

Phillipines - Int'l Year of Indigenous People

Aland - Traditional Costumes

Thailand - Bangkok Fashion City

Thailand - The National Costumes of Thai Women

Nepal - Ornament Series

Nepal - Traditional Costumes

Singapore - Wedding Costumes 1976

Singapore - Family Potrait

Singapore - Traditional Dances

Singapore - Wedding Costumes

South Korea - Wedding Costumes

Korea, with 5,000 years of distinctive history and culture and Singapore, a globalized country of the 21st century, issue a joint stamp featuring traditional wedding costume ? a subject that is both meaningful and beautiful.

Korea’s traditional wedding attire depicted on the stamp is from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).
Generally, a bridegroom’s wedding garments include a coronet with wings (Samo) and an official robe with a round collar (Dallyeong) with embroidered insignia (Hyungbae). The bride wears an embroidered court robe (Hwarot) or a ceremonial robe (Wonsam). She would also do up her hair in the ceremonial style, colorfully decorated with a coronet adorned with jewelry (Jokduri), a fluttering hair accessory (Tteoljam), or with a hair ribbon (Daenggi).
The stamp shows a purple-colored Dallyeong with Hyungbae spun with golden thread; splendidly embroidered Hwarot; blue-colored Dallyenong with a twin-crane Hyungbae; green-colored Wonsam spun with golden thread; deep blue-colored Dallyeong; and green-colored Wonsam.
The stamp also shows formal wear worn under these wedding costumes: the bridegroom’s baggy pants (Baji), jacket (Jeogori) and overcoat (Durumagi); the bride’s green jacket (Jeogori) and red skirt (Chima).
The backdrop for these wedding attire features four different themes: the sun, moon and five mountains depicting health, longevity and matrimonial harmony; a peony symbolizing wealth, prosperity, longevity and purity; ducks symbolizing success in life and prominence; and mandarin ducks depicting love and conjugal harmony.

The stamp also shows the traditional wedding costumes of the four main ethnic races of Singapore, a multiracial nation - the Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian.
The Chinese wedding costumes feature the ‘lucky’ color ? red. Brides traditionally wear clothing embroidered with golden phoenixes, peonies and chrysanthemums ? flowers symbolizing wealth and good fortune. The groom’s outfit is a black silk coat worn over a robe of dark blue.
Malay wedding costumes show a regal touch. Considered royalty for the day, the couple’s attire is elaborate and glittery, adorned with abundant wedding jewellery.
Indian wedding costumes also feature red in all hues as the color of happiness and prosperity. Especially in Tamil weddings, the bride wears red and gold at the main ceremony. The bridegroom usually wears white. His shirt is embroidered with golden threads and worn over white pants or skirts.
The Eurasian wedding costumes reflect the mix of two cultures: European and Asian.
Their wedding attire primarily comprises white representing purity and the bride carries a bouquet of flowers at the ceremony.
The stamp was designed by Professor Yun Yeo-Whan of Chungnam National University with Korea’s traditional wedding costumes researched from the historical viewpoint by Professor Park Sung-Sil of Dankook University.

Date of Issue: 30 March 2007
Quantity: 300,000 stamps each
Printing Process & Colors: Photogravure, Five colours
Sheet Composition: 4x4 (Eight stamps setenant, 147mm x 225mm)
Paper: 13
Printer: Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation
Types: 8
Denomination: KRW 250, 480, 520, 580, 600
Size of Stamp: 30mm x 40mm
Image Area: 27mm x 37mm
Perforation 13
Designer: Kim, So-jeong

Thursday, January 1, 2009

San Marino - Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms San Marino

The national coat-of-arms consists of an azure background with three silver towers, windows and walls outlined in black and Guelph-style battlements. The towers are sitting on three green peaks (Cesta, Guaita and Montale); each tower has a silver plume on the summit.

The coat-of-arms is situated on a heart-shaped shield and bordered in gold with a laurel branch on the right and an oak branch on the left. On the bottom the branches are joined by a ribbon with the motto "Libertas".

On April 6, 1862, a deliberation was made to add, on the top of the shield, an eight-pointed crown closed by three semicircles, studded with pearls and connected to a globe with a cross. The crown represented the sovereignty of the Republic which acknowledged no higher authority than itself.

The various Municipalities of the Republic each have their coat-of-arms:

- City of San Marino: few variations have been made to the National coat-of-arms, three gold towers with white plumes at the top; on the bottom a wall with the motto "Libertas"

- Borgo Maggiore: originally Mercatale – the second largest Castel. The coat-of-arms depicts the location of this Municipality at the foot of Mount Titano

- Serravalle: literally the name means "that closes the valley", with reference to its strategic position. The coat-of-arms, depicting a red tower, alludes to its defensive role ("azure background, square red tower adorned with three Ghibelline battlements")

- Domagnano: originally called Montelupo, the coat-of-arms depicts a wolf in the foreground and the ruin of a tower on top of a hill

- Fiorentino: gold with three red roses. The three flowers (fiori) refer to its name

- Acquaviva: the coat-of-arms corresponds to its previous name: Montecerreto. "Azure, with three turkey oak trees with leafy green branches arranged in a triangular form"

- Faetano: the coat-of-arms represents the name of the territory, deriving from "beech", in particular, "a Forest of Beech Trees"; in gold showing an uprooted beech tree

- Montegiardino: the coat-of-arms clearly captures the place/name: "Azure background, with three red roses with green leafy stems, in a fan-shape, on top of a mountain with three gold peaks"

- Chiesanuova: the original name was Pennarossa (red plume) which is depicted on the coat-of-arms: "azure background with a red plume"

The coat of arms of San Marino probably originates in the 14th Century, and can be seen as a whole as a symbol of freedom and independence of the oldest republic in the world.

The components of the coat of arms are in detail:

  • In the blue shield there are three green mountains with three silver towers, which are decorated with a weather vane with a silver ostrich feather. The towers symbolize the three citadels of San Marino (La Guaita, La Cesta and La Montale), while the hills represent the three summits of the Monte Titano. See: The Three Towers of San Marino
  • The motto "LIBERTAS" (Lat. freedom). It possibly refers to the taking in of victims of political persecution in the earlier years of San Marino, and to the amazing maintenance of independence in the midst of many larger states. The motto could also have developed from the alleged last words of the founder Marinu "Relinquo vos liberos ab utroque homine" (Lat. "I leave you free from both men"). [1]
  • An oak- and laurel branch, which surrounds the coat of arms are symbols for the stability of the republic and the defense of the liberty.
  • A crown, which serves a symbol of the sovereignty.

The coat of arms of San Marino adorns among other things the flag of the country and the logo of the Sammarinese football team FSGC.

Cyprus 1994 - Traditional Costumes

Technical Details:
Date of Issued: 27 December 1994
Designer: Antis Ioannides, Nicosia, Cyprus
Printers: Graphic Arts, Alex Matsoukis Graphic Arts SA, Greece
Text: Eleni Papadimitriou, Nicosia, Cyprus (Expert in Folklore, Cultural Officer)
Printing Method: Litho-Offset on Watermark
Size of Stamps: 27 mm x 40 mm

1 Cent - Paphos, Female Costume, Foustani (500,000)
2 Cent - Karpass Bridal Costume, Routjetti (500,000)
3 Cent - Paphos Female Costume, Sayia (300,000)
5 Cent - Messaoria Female Costume, Foustani (3,000,000)
7 Cent - Bridegroom's Costume (3,000,000)
10 Cent - Messaoria Shepherd's Costume (3,000,000)
15 Cent - Nicosia Festive Female Costume (2,000,000)
20 Cent - Karpass Festive Female Costume, Sayia (5,000,000)
25 Cent - Mountain - Pitsillia Female Costume (2,500,000)
30 Cent - Karpass Festiva Female Costume, Doupletti (1,000,000)
35 Cent - Rural Male Costume (1,000,000)
40 Cent - Messaoria Plain Fstive Male Costume (1,000,000)
50 Cent - Urban Male Costume (1,000,000)
1 Pound - Urban Festive Female Costume, Sarka (1,000,000)

In contrast to the costumes work in towns, which sometimes indicated social standing and foreign influences, in the villages there was a relative uniformity in traditional costumes, a fact attributable to the more or less leveled type of society in the rural areas.

The bridal dress was usually festive, with some jewellery added and the "veil", usually made of red transparent purple cloth were the only distinguishable difference between her and the other guests.

There were, nevertheless, local variations both in the daily and in the festive costumes. The female gown was long with the characteristic long trousers tied around the ankle.

In distant Karpass peninsula the "sayia", an outer gown open in front, was richly decorated with multi-coloured horizontal stripes, the "moustres" and woven or applique embroidery. In the Karpass as well as in Paphos, the "sayia" which previously was being work across Cyprus, continued to be preserved until the first decades of the twentieth century. In both areas the bottom of the long baggy trousers emerging below the "sayia" was also richly ornamented with tapestry-woven embroideries.

In the mountain villages, as well as in many other areas of Cyprus, women wore long dresses with pleats from the waist the "foustani", a dress with a deep opening at the breast, the "trahelia", and the "sayia", through which one could see the white blouse underneath.

The textiles used for the outer clothes were mostly striped or checked local cotton materials, in rich coloured combinations, the "aladjes". Although the "aladjes" varied from area to area, everyday clothes were usually in darker colours than the ones worn on special occations.

In the towns women wore the "Amalia dress", widely known to the Greeks since the 19th century. The Cypriot variation, especially seen in Nicosia, consists of a multicoloured silk shirt and a short jacket, the "Sarka" which was decorated with rich applique work.

A silk blouse with lace at the cuffs and neck would show through the front opening of the "Sarka" and under the sleeves. In the towns women sometimes wore a fez instead of the stamped head - scarf, bordered with lace, worn by peasant women.

Men wore the "vraka" baggy trousers, similar to those worn in the Greek Islands and coastal areas of the Eastern Mediterranean. The length and the width of the "vraka" varied from region to region, whilst the colour was usually dark-blue. "Vraka" was warn with a waistcoat, the sleeves "gilekko" and the "Zimbouni" with sleeves, made of local cotton striped material, the "aladja", or imported woolen and velvet worn by the groom or on special occasions. On such occasions the "gilekko" and the "zimbouni" were richly ornamented with applique embroidery, while the usual woolen girdle, the "zostra", was replaced by a silk multicoloured grdle, the "ttalapoulouzi", tied at the waiste. In towns and in villages men wore heavy leather boots, the "podines", both in winters and summers while women wore short studded boots, the "bodinia".

Men used to wear on their heads a hat, "fesi", with or without a kerchief, or a kerchief without fesi.

Most of the traditional and better preserved Cypriot costumes found in public and private collections date back to the 18th, 19th and early 20th century.

Source: Department of Postal Services, Republic of Cyprus.

Germany - Coat of Arms

Spain - Traditional Costumes

Lithuania - Coat of Arms 1992-2008

Solomon Islands - Melanesian Culture

Transkei, South Africa - Abakwetha Culture

Transkei, South Africa - Xhosa Headdresses

Transkei, South Africa - Xhosa Culture

Switzerland - Centenarium UPU

Tuvalu - Traditional Dancer

Spain - Moda Espanola, Balenciaga 2007

Spanish Fashion - Balenciaga
Date of Issue: 18/10/2007
Gravure: Stamping
Coated: paper, gummed, phosphorescent
Perforated: 13 3 / 4
Size: 28.8 x 49.8 mm seal. (Vertical)
Sheet size: 105 x 150 mm block. (Vertical)
Face value of the stamps: 0.39, 0.42, 0.58 and 0.78 €
Editional: 500,000 block

Speaking of fashion in dress is to talk about trends, catwalks, fashion and models, is to refer to a world where fashion designers and teachers of the art design the costumes combine with new fabrics and textures to show the newest and current. Post dedicates this issue, consisting of a souvenir sheet with four stamps, the Spanish fashion and one of the most famous creators of our country, Balenciaga.

Among the names that have a place of honor in the pages of international fashion figure in Spanish Cristóbal Balenciaga (Guetaria [Guipúzcoa] 1895-Valencia 1972). Driver of a new style that was struggling to "the fineness of simplicity," Balenciaga teacher began his apprenticeship in Madrid. After opening the first couture house in San Sebastian, Madrid and Barcelona, ​​in 1937 moved to Paris, where he soon wins the haute couture for its sobriety and its richness in evening gowns. In the fifties, creates a new line dresses tight bust, waist and hips wasp voluminous coats without collars or buttons, Japanese manga, tunic dresses empire line or call. His designs were dressed Queen Fabiola of Belgium, Princess Grace of Monaco and the Duchess of Windsor. Contrary to the current overcrowding of fashion and prêt-à-porter, retired in 1968.

The souvenir sheet is illustrated by a representative of the different costumes hours a day, so the € 0.39 stamp reproduces a chantilly lace dress over transparent ivory taffeta. Bring cut to the waist and broad flight. It was made in Paris between 1948-1950

The value of 0.42 shows a costume party, two-piece red silk satin. The bullfighter, Japanese manga, is embroidered with sequins, lamé gold braid and silver threads. Paris 1960.

A set consisting of streets in red dress and coat, made in the sixties, is the reason that illustrates the seal of 0.58 euros.

The final seal of 0.78 euros, includes a yellow linen shirt dress with neckline to the box and strip. The manga is Japanese and slightly ruched skirt boards. Closes with 11 buttons of the same color paste.

The images that appear on the stamps have been transferred by the Museum of Costume in Madrid, an institution which aims to raise awareness of the historical evolution of the clothing of the peoples of Spain.

Malaysia - Royal Headgear 2008

Technical Details:
Date of Issue: 16 September 2008
Subject: Royal Headgear
Width: 32.00 mm
Height: 27.00 mm
Denomination: 0.50 Malaysian Ringgit
Number in set: 10 (Show Set)
Perforations: 14.00 mm x 14.00 mm
Stamp issuing authority: POS Malaysia
Printer: Percetakan Keselamatan Nasional Sdn Bhd

Printing Process: Lithography
Paper: Watermarked SPM, Phosphor Coated
Designer: Prof Dato Raja Zahabuddin Raja Yaacob

0.50 Malaysian Ringgit - Tengkolok Tengkolok Diraja (Royal Headgears)
0.50 Malaysian Ringgit - Tengkolok Diraja Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di-Pertuan Agung (Dendam Tak Sudah)
0.50 Malaysian Ringgit - Tengkolok Diraja Kedah (Dendam Tak Sudah)
0.50 Malaysian Ringgit - Tengkolok Diraja Negeri Sembilan (Dendam Tak Sudah)
0.50 Malaysian Ringgit - Tengkolok Diraja Pahang (Sekelungung Bunga)
0.50 Malaysian Ringgit - Tengkolok Diraja Kelantan (Ketam Budu)
0.50 Malaysian Ringgit - Tengkolok Diraja Perak (Ayam Patah Kepak)
0.50 Malaysian Ringgit - Tengkolok Diraja Perlis (Dendam Tak Sudah)
0.50 Malaysian Ringgit - Tengkolok Diraja Selangor (Setanjak Balung Raja)
0.50 Malaysian Ringgit - Tengkolok Diraja Terengganu (Belalai Gajah)

The Royal Headdress or "Tengkolok" is part of the ceremonial attire of the Malay Rulers. For centuries, Malay Rulers had been wearing headdress made of woven silk fabric that is shaped into different styles for a few hundred years as part of their regalia since the days of the Malay sultanate. This headdress is also called "Destar" and the style of folding is called solek, The colours of the headdress varies from one state to another. There are various styles of folding, among them Anak Gajah Menyusu, Lang Menyusur Angin, Garam Sebuku (Getam Pekasam), Pucuk Pisang Patah, Ayam Patah Kepak and Dendam Tak Sudah.

Headdress of Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Dipertuan Agong
The royal headdress worn by His Majesty the Yang Dipertuan Agong during his Majesty's Coronation is made of black fabric with gold embroideries. This Destar is know as the Dendam Tah Sudah and its style originated from Negeri Sembilan. The front of the destar is affixed with a crescent, a fourteen-pointed star made of platinum and in the middle star is the colourful Malaysian emblem.