Friday, May 30, 2008

The abominable snowman

(I can’t believe that this is already the end of the week and I updated my blog only once ! I had so much work and time is running so quickly…)

On top of stamps picturing frogs and toads I collect all stamps issued in 1966. Because this is the year of my birth. My collection of 1966 stamps is far from being complete. This is not my main collection so I do not spend enough time for it. Anyway I recently made the acquisition of an impressive set of fifteen triangular stamps issued by Bhutan in 1966. This is the only stamps I have from Bhutan so far in my 1966 stamps collection. Here it is.

As you see the subject of the set is the Yeti. The set is in fact made of five sets of three stamps, each set picturing a different representation of the Yeti. The Yeti, also known as the abominable snowman, is an apelike “animal” that is said to inhabit the Himalaya region of the Nepal and Tibet. The Yeti is a cryptid, i.e. an unconfirmed animal for which there is no scientific proof of existence (the study of such animal is called the crypto zoology). The Yeti is often compared to the legendary “Bigfoot” from America. For thousands of years, the legend of the Yeti remained confined to its remote area, where it was worshiped. The first time this creature was publicised in the western world was in the 19th century with the first expeditions of European in the Himalaya. Since then, the Yeti has become a tourist attraction.

The Yeti is a part of popular culture now. It appears in movies, books and video games. For instance in the famous movie series Star Wars, the creature called the Wampa is based on the Yeti in the appearance and the habitat it lives in. Another example is “Tintin in Tibet”, the comics from Hergé, where the Yeti saves Tintin’s friend. There are a lot of similar examples.
It is funny that the name “abominable snowman” comes from a translation error. This name comes from an article written by Henry Newman in the Calcutta Statesman. He translated “metoh kangmi”, the name used by local people, into “abominable snowman” whereas “metoh” means man-bear and “kangmi” means snowman. In fact he mixed up “metoh” with “metch” meaning filthy.
Bhutan has issued other stamps picturing the Yeti. It appears on a stamp with 3D effect issued in 1970 in a series about animals (at this time Bhutan was issuing a lot of stamps with this simulated 3D effect).

Another stamp issued in 1996 in a souvenir sheet about folktales pictures the Yeti.

I wonder if other countries have issued stamps picturing the Yeti ? Cryptids on stamps could be an interesting topic for collection…

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