Hello and happy Monday to all of you, from oh-boy-do-I-have-a-lot-to-do land. I’m giving a talk in upstate New York later this week, and although I used to make public presentations all the time, its been four months since the last one. So it is laying heavily on my mind today.
Before I start working on it, let me grace you with more Lebanese beauties from Faylasoof’s stamp collection. (Faylasoof, I am so sorry, but I am cutting out some of the flower stamps. There are just so many of them … and I have a very brown thumb.)
The stamp at the left is just stunning, isn’t it? It looks to me like it is a print of a color photograph (when you zoom in the image gets quite grainy) – and the subject is a circuit board. The stamp celebrates Lebanese industry – a field that seems to have gotten far more attention from the country’s post office than from its businessmen (and women, but in this period, mainly men).
The Arabic in this stamp shows a real evolution from some of the earlier – or at least more traditionally-focused – designs. Look at “Lubnan”: its close to the Ministry of Tourism logo, but cleaner. And take a look at the “25 qurush” – both the numbers and the qaff are incredibly stylized, but in a very streamlined, 1960s-modern way. They blow the boring “25 pence” on the left out of the water: rounded, dull numbers and a very generic “p”.
The middle stamp is another one that blends Lebanon’s Roman (well, probably intended as Phoenician) heritage with its geographic position in the modern world – not terribly interesting, and with much more traditional Arabic calligraphy. But the color – my goodness! The post office must have had plenty of pink left over after printing the Bal des petits lits blancs stamps, and decided that this was the way to make the best use of what remained.
As for the Lebanese post office, it is well represented in the green stamp at the right, which shows the old national post office building. (In French, the text reads “Hotel des Postes”, but the Arabic has “Dar al-Bareed”.) The stamp was canceled in February 1955, and the car in the drawing looks fairly 1950s, so I would identify this stamp as somewhat older than the first two – and certainly older than the Lebanese industry stamp.
These next two stamps are from the mid-1960s: 1968 on the left, and 1966 on the right.
On the left, a drawing showing some of the ruins of Baalbek to celebrate the 1968 Baalbek festival. Neither the Arabic nor the French scripts excite me much, but I think this may be the result of having to cram so much textual information into the margins. Designing bi-lingual stamps must be a real challenge.
On the right, another internationally-focused stamp – this one celebrating the 1966 World Day of the Child (Journee Mondiale de l’Enfant, or Yom al-Atfal al-A`lami). I like that the child in question is a little girl, and that she is shown outside the house. I personally think that her skirt could be a couple of inches longer, but oh well – it was the sixties, after all!