Monday, July 30, 2007

Puppet theatre

I have already written several times about my interest in joint stamp issues. This is the reason why I’m a member of the International Philatelic Society of Joint Stamp Issues Collectors. I’m also helping to maintain and update the IPS-JSPC website since now few months. So I’m always happy when I get mails franked with joint stamp issues. Here is an example that I have received few weeks ago from Indonesia. Look at this beautiful cover, with a very clean and nice cancel from Bandung.

The souvenir sheet has been issued on the 27th of September 2006 and belongs to a joint stamp issue between Indonesia and Slovakia, the subject of this common issue being puppet theatre. As both countries have issued stamps with the same design and at the same time, this issue is classified as a Twin issue.
The stamp located on the left of the cover pictures an Indonesian puppet called Semar, or also Sang Hyang Ismoyo. He personifies the fight between Good and Evil. His white face symbolises a teacher, with a pleasant and honest appearance, whose lessons can be happily followed by his pupils. His black body warns us against doing anything bad to achieve any personal goals.
The stamp on the right pictures Gasparko (Silly Billy) one of the most typical character of traditional puppet theatre in Slovakia. He finds his origin in the clown, born from the commedia dell’arte in the 14th century in Italy. He performs in almost every traditional puppet theatre representations, mostly as a houseman, often as a clown or a squire, later as a wanderer and tradesman. His wife is called Zabinka (little frog). For completeness, here is a scan of the Slovakian issue.

One interesting point to be noticed on the Indonesian souvenir sheet, is the small stars that you can see in the perforation of the stamps, at each corner. This star is not present on the Slovakian issue.

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