Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The word and the Image

Set of stamps
Souvenir sheet I

Souvenir sheet II
First Day Cover with stamps
First Day Covers with souvenir sheets
Stamps book

The two words that embody this idea are astounding: Word and Image. For the societies that have inherited age-old Mediterranean cultures, the concept of Sacred Text comprises the actual idea of Religion, Theology and Piety. We talk of "Religions of the Book" as if the book was the essence of those movements. And, in reality, it is. 

The scared places of each tradition are important; the founders, the prophets and the disseminators of each religion are also fundamental; but the Sacred Texts are the basis of the doctrine, the rites, the norms, the social organisation, the way of seeing and behaving in the world.
At its origin, almost as ancient as Judaism, we have the Torah, the Pentateuch in the Christian Greek language, which gives shape to the actual identity of the Chosen People. More than Religion, the Scared Text was - and is - the identity of a collective that sees itself in the determinations, in the Alliances, in the "exoduses" and in the "exiles". 
Also nearly as old as Christianity, the beginning of the systematisation of the Christian canon is the image of centrality inherited from Judaism, when one looks in the dynamics between texts and communities for the organisation, the systematisation of the doctrine, or even the creation of bonds and solidarity among groups.
Despite being profoundly Christian and Catholic, the iconography presented here is the road to an important means of spirituality. The relationship between the Scared Text and the images is a feature that is almost ecumenical, a dimension that is greater than each of the religions or traditions, which takes shape here in the particular case of the Portuguese pictographic heritage. The "Word through the Image" is the acknowledgement of this heritage that shapes the vast identity that is us, in the broadest and most uniform culture of Southern Europe, of the Mediterranean. 
For millennia, in this basin where civilisations intermingled, and where gods, beliefs and meanings were exchanged, the images and the words were combined over time, becoming symbiotic aspects of the same imagery, complementing the doctrine and the rites.
Today, it is impossible to understand our past, and even our way of seeing the world, without experiencing the meaning of an Ecce Homo placed in the shadows of a church, illuminated only by the flickering light of a handful of candles. How much we have of fears and hopes in the gaze of millions of beings like us who contemplated, century upon century, powerful images like this one.
This Word and these images are us, in our ancient and unique culture, in our anthropology and worldview. Whether we are believers or not. Whether we are "practising" or not, our heritage has been constructed for two millennia according to this articulation between texts that is deemed scared and its representations that accompanied moments of worship, of introspection, of prayer, of rejoicing or of despair. 
The Word and the Image are part of a genetic code that gives shape to a part of Europe, that runs in the veins of the most dilapidated and revealing bodies of the millennium-old culture that we inherited. 

Technical Details
Date of Issue: 22 February 2012
Values: Stamps of €0,47; €0,68; €0,80 and €1,00 + two miniature sheets stamps of €1,50
Perforation: Cross of Christ 13 x 13
Sheet: sheets of 50 stamps

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Major Characters of Portuguese Culture

Set of stamps
First Day Cover with stamps
Brito Camacho (1862 – 1934)
Journalist by calling and politician by conviction, Manuel de Brito Camacho, minister for public works of the provisional government of the 1st Republic, was born in Monte de Mesas, on 12 February 1862, and went to high school in Beja, before enrolling in a Medicine course, at the Escola Médico-Cirúrgica, in Lisbon.
In 1885 he began attending the Republican Party congresses and in 1906 he founded the A Lucta periodical, the first propaganda tool of the Republic. His sharp and incisive pen, which places public wellbeing above the private and does not shy away from party interests, creates some enemies, on the left and the right of the political spectrum.
His tenacity, his rigour and an immaculate political patriotism, however, make him a tutelary figure of the Republican Union Party, which he establishes in 1911.
Between the years of 1921 and 1923 he takes on the role of High Commissioner of the Republic, in Mozambique. In this capacity he is responsible for important reforms in the education and health systems of the former colony.
Once he retired from political life, Brito Camacho celebrates his homeland in part of the literary work which fills the last years of his life. He died in Lisbon, on 19 September 1934.

Marcos Portugal (1762 – 1830)
The most prolific and international of Portuguese composers, Marcos Portugal, was born in Lisbon, in 1762.
At the service of Queen D. Maria I and King  D. João VI, he creates sacred works for the royal chapels’ festivities.
However, it is for writing comic operas – opera “buffa” – that his name gains international recognition. Marcos Portugal moves to Italy, in 1792, where he premiers more than 20 operas, some of which guaranteed his success in key European cities.
Upon his return to Portugal in 1800, he becomes master of the Seminário da Patriarcal and maestro of the Real Teatro de S. Carlos, where he composes some “serious” operas performed, for the most part, by Angelica Catalani.
Following the court’s departure for Brazil, Marcos Portugal moves to Rio de Janeiro, in 1811, taking on the responsibilities of master of His Royal Highnesses. In 1820 he was awarded the Comenda da Ordem de Cristo. When the Portuguese court returns, he does not follow but remains at the service of his pupil, the Emperor D. Pedro I of Brazil. He died in 1830, in Rio de Janeiro. He is the author of Brazil’s Independence Anthem.

António Vilar (1912 – 1995)
The man who lent his face to some of the most emblematic characters of the Portuguese literary and cultural pantheon – from the ruthless D. Pedro to the worldly Camões – was born on 13 October 1912, in Lisbon. Before making a name for himself in front of the cameras, he was a radio singer, reporter for O Século, bank clerk and assistant director.
Despite small cinema roles, his real debut came with the film Feitiço do Império, in a performance that did not go unnoticed. Two years later, António Vilar played his first leading role, as Carlos Bonito, in the unmissable O Pátio das Cantigas.
From strength to strength, Vilar consolidates his career with an increasingly enthusiastic reception from the critics. The roles of Pedro, the Cruel, in Inês de Castro, and of Camões, in the homonymous film by Leitão de Barros that premiered in 1946, opened up a world of opportunities.
In the following years, António Vilar worked in Argentina, Italy, Brazil, the United States of America, France and Spain, where he settled down at the end of the 1940s and where he starred in around 40 films.
Plentifully blessed, the actor dedicates his last years to the dream of producing a film about Ferdinand Magellan, funded with his own money. Even though the dream of bringing the explorer’s achievements to the big screen did not come true, we are left with a replica of a ship that was donated, upon his death, to the collection of the National Commission of the Portuguese Discoveries.

Technical Details
Date of Issue: 13 February 2012
Values: Stamps of €0,32; €0,68; €0,80
Designer: Sofia Martins
Printer: Joh. Enschedé
Process: Offset
Size: 30,6 x 40 mm
Perforation: Cross of Christ 13 x 13
Sheet: sheets of 50 stamps

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Academia Militar - 175 Years

Set of stamps
Souvenir sheet
FDC with set of stamps
FDC with souvenir sheet
The Escola do Exército was created on 12 January 1837 by marquis Sá da Bandeira, being the most distinguished predecessor of the current Academia Militar. After the Restoration, King João IV created the Lição de Artilharia e Esquadria, in 1641, which can be considered the first school aimed at training higher military personnel. It was followed by the Aula de Fortificação e Arquitectura Militar, the Academia Militar da Corte, the Academia Real de Marinha and the Real Colégio dos Nobres. In 1790, Queen Maria I, created the Academia Real de Fortificação, Artilharia e Desenho, considered as the “first truly scientific school aimed at higher education in subject matters of interest to officers of the Portuguese army”.

In 1837, in an atmosphere of great political unrest and instability, marquis Sá da Bandeira (who was a former student of the Academia Real), created the Escola do Exército, as part of a vast and profound reform of the Portuguese Higher Education. The teaching method was compared to the method of
the Universidade Portuguesa and its teachers enjoyed the same honours and categories. The Escola do Exército, initially set up in the Real Colégio dos Nobres, was later transferred to another location in Lisbon and took up its current premises at Paço da Rainha (or Bemposta) in 1851.

After having undergone successive restructurings (Escola do Exército 1837-1910, Escola de Guerra 1911-
-1919, Escola Militar 1919-1938 and again Escola do Exército 1938-1959), the Academia Militar was created on 12 February 1959 with the aim of preparing Army and Air Force officers and, since then, its courses have, “for general purposes, been of the same standing as other higher education courses”.  The law creating the Academia Militar refers the 12 of January as the “anniversary of the establishment of the Escola do Exército”, that will celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2012. With headquarters in Lisbon and a detachment in Amadora, it is the Academia Militar’s mission, as a public military university/higher education institution to train the Army’s and the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR)’s core staff.
The Academia Militar, it provides the future officers with the competences necessary for the missions carried out by the Army and by the GNR, furthering individual development for the performance of command and management duties. In harmony with the Bologna process, the Academia Militar awards its officers a master degree, thus promoting the Escola do Exército, that over the last 175 years has had several of its students occupying high State positions – seven became Presidents of the Portuguese Republic – particularly in operations in the African Campaigns, in World War I, in the Overseas Campaigns and more recently in as varied operational theatres as Bosnia, Kosovo, Angola, Mozambique, Somalia, Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan.
With this philatelic issue, the CTT joins in the celebration of the 175th anniversary of the Escola do Exército, thus acknowledging the Army (Airforce up to 1982 and since 1991 the GNR) officers headquarters’ indispensable contribution to the training of leaders who, with the feather and the sword, so expertly have built and advanced Portugal in the concert of Nations.
Academia Militar

Technical Details
Date of Issue: 12 January 2012
Values: Stamps of €0,32; €0,68 and a souvenir sheet with one stamp of €2,50
Process: Offset
Perforation: Cross of Christ 13 x 13
Sheet: sheets of 50 stamps

Saturday, March 17, 2012

NEW ZEALAND - China 2011 International Stamp Exhibition

China 2011 is the third FIAP international stamp exhibition to be held in China since the two successful exhibitions in 1996 and 2003. It will take place from 11 to 15 November 2011 and aims to promote the development of philately throughout Asia.
The exhibition is being held under the patronage of the Federation of Inter-Asian Philately and with recognition from the Fédération Internationale de Philatélie. 31 countries and regions will be participating in what will be one of the largest events on the 2011philatelic calendar.
More than 250,000 international visitors are expected to visit the city of Wuxi to attend China 2011. Wuxi lies on the southern border of Jiangsu Province, about 128 kilometers northwest of Shanghai.
New Zealand Post has issued an exhibition miniature sheet and exhibition souvenir cover to commemorate the event. The specially shaped miniature sheet incorporates three 2011 Round Kiwi stamps set alongside China’s national treasure – the giant panda. The exhibition souvenir cover beautifully depicts Wuxi’s Lake Taihu, which is China's third-largest body of fresh water.

Technical Details
Date of Issue: 11 November 2011
Values: Stamps of 1$20, 1$90 and 2$40
Designer: Stamps Business, New Zealand Post, Wellington
Printer: Southern Colour Print Ltd
Process: Offset lithography
Size: Round stamps
Paper: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Sheet: One exhibition miniature sheet with three stamps