The World On My Doorstep

An ever-expanding postcard blog

The Heads of an Old Man and a Youth

Scan 6This lovely card comes from Ellu in Italy and shows Leonardo Da Vinci’s Study of the Heads of an Old Man and a Youth, which dates to around 1495. Ellu has a love for this sort of art, so I love that she in turn shares in with me! Da Vinci used to do these studies to prepare for his elaborate final masterpieces. Fantastic card, thanks Ellu!

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A Rungus Beader

Scan 4 - Version 2This beautiful card comes from Fiona in Malaysia and shows a beader from the Rungus ethnic group. Fiona tells me this lady will live in a longhouse where about twenty families will all live together. Historically, the jar in front of the lady would have been used as a burial jar and placed in caves. However now they are used for storing water for bathing. Fiona also mentions that the Rungus still keep many of their old traditions. Absolutely fascinating! Thanks so much for the explanation Fiona!

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A Traditional Valentine

Scan 5 - Version 3From the lovely Maura in the USA comes this cute Valentine’s card – definitely different in theme to the previous one! The history of Valentine’s Day is not easy to decipher. Although there were many martyred Valentines, it is thought that only two (or possibly three) actually relate to the Saint whose day is celebrated on February the 14th, the most famous being Priest Valentine of Rome. Whilst there are many myths and legends surrounding these saints, one thing is known for certain – they were killed for their beliefs by the Romans. It first became a day with connotations of love during the Early Middle Ages, but it was not until the Victorian times (so sweetly depicted in this card) that traditions of gift giving and courtship began to arise. Nowadays it is common to write Valentines cards which are often filled with ‘poetry’ or variants of the old ‘roses are red’ cliché, but did you know that the original of Roses are Red dated back to 1784 and is actually quite beautiful?

The rose is red, the violet’s blue,

The honey’s sweet, and so are you.
Thou art my love and I am thine;
I drew thee to my Valentine:
The lot was cast and then I drew,

And Fortune said it shou’d be you.

 

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A Moroccan Tannery

Scan 1This wonderful card comes from Eva who also has an awesome postcard blog. Here you can see a traditional tannery in the Moroccan city of Fez which Eva says is fascinating, if you can tolerate the smell! This is where leather is processed using tannin in order to make it durable enough for every day use. What an amazing image! Thank you Eva!

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Jiufen

Scan - Version 4This great card comes from my beautiful friend Clarissa who was on holiday in Taiwan. Here you can see some of the winding back-alleys of Jiufen. Clarissa tells me that this is her favourite place in the whole country and it is full of steps, yummy food and teahouses. The name ‘Jiufen’ actually comes from the Chinese for ‘Nine Portions’ as historically, nine families lived in this town and whenever merchants visited, nine portions of everything would be requested. Fascinating!

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Imam Ali Mosque

postcards2_3_2This card, arriving a day after Milad’s first card, shows the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, Iraq. It is considered the third holiest location for the Shia branch of Islam as Muhammed’s cousin, the first Imam is said to be buried there. Although the site has survived through a lot in its time, especially in recent years, it has retained its glory and beauty effectively. Thank you so much Milad, I love this card!

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A Galician Dance

postcards1This beautiful card comes from Vero in Spain and shows a traditional children’s dance in the region of Galicia – an autonomous community in the north-west of the country, just north of Portugal. It is a region that can trace its human habitation back to the Middle Palaeolithic and boasts the remains of Neanderthal material culture. Now, it has a very distinctive culture and from the looks of this card, a very beautiful one!

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Anne Boleyn

postcards2_2_3In my last post, I mentioned Elizabeth the First, in this one, you see her mother. Anne Boleyn – Henry VIII’s second wife who met her unfortunate end at the cold blade of an executioner’s sword. This card came from my sister Beatrice on a trip to London. She says Anne Boleyn was always her favourite of Henry’s 6 wives. As a child, she was mine too, perhaps because she always seemed so serene and beautiful. However, she ruled as Queen for only three years in the 1500s before Henry had her beheaded. The rumors around her death focus mainly on the fact she did not bear Henry a living son amongst more scandalous ideas such as adultery, incest (with her brother) and treason. Regardless of the cause, only three years after her marriage to Henry she was dead, having been the spark behind perhaps the most controversial annulment in history and the start of the Church of England.

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Christmas Maxicards

postcards3 postcards3_2In my backlog of updates are still quite a few Christmas cards, so I apologise for their unseasonal appearance on here. That being said, some, like these from Silvia in Italy, are really beautiful! These are two maxicards unique to Christmas 2013, one showing a traditional religious motif of Jesus taken from Guido Reni’s San Giuseppe col Bambino and the other created especially for penpals and postcard lovers like us! Wonderful! Thanks Silvia!

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Banjara Mother and Daughters

postcards2_2This beautiful card comes from Som in India and shows three pretty members of the nomadic Banjara tribe. For those of you interested in etymology, the word Banjara comes from the Hindi ‘Ban’ or ‘Van’ meaning forest or moorlands depending on which it derives from and ‘Chara’ – movers. So even their name seems to give away their nomadic origins! The elaborate clothes are traditional wear for the women of the tribe and are very striking. Thanks Som, it’s beautiful!

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