Sunday, May 22, 2011

Handicrafts, Macedonia

I guess Im lucky that Viridian has chosen Sunday as a day for featuring stamps coz it seems to be the only day of the week when I can dedicate some time to it.
This week's theme are handicrafts....being that Macedonia is rich in these, and there are also a number of stamps issued featuring handicrafts, I decided to dedicate this post to my country again....and will save the other nations' handicraft stamps for some post in the future.

Ive chosen two sets of stamps for today....the first one is actually a definitive issued in 2007, representing a traditional woven bag from the 20th century from the Skopje region

this is one of the typical designs that can be seen on the Macedonian traditional clothes as well as tapestries, carpets, bed-covers, curtains and other household items used in the Macedonian rural and urban houses. Each Macedonian region has its unique designs but in general they are all rich in colours and ornamental details.
This kind of bag is something which people used to put bread loaves and cheese and maybe peppers inside when they went on the pasture fields and had to stay there all day...or by school children who had to travel many many kilometres in order to get to their school. These kind of bags have often been described in the traditional Macedonian legends and stories and to those familiar with them and the Macedonian people and culture in general, they bring an image of a freshly baked bread, perfectly hot, where the cheese is put inside between two slices and melts...a very simple but delicious meal for many.
Recently I went to the Night of the Museums event...well, sadly it only took place at one museum, but something is better than nothing. And the museum has this permanent exhibit of ethnological items among which these kind of bags are portrayed too....I have to say I loved that part, showing so many different traditional clothes and accessories, coming from different regions in Macedonia.

The stamps has a face value of 12 denars, comb perforation and comes in a sheet of 25 stamps. The offset printing technique has been used. And what I like about it is its is rather small (28x25 mm) and fits very well on postcards among other additional stamps (coz this one is not enough for postage).

The other set of stamps I chose for today was issued in 2009 and consists of two stamps, under the Cultural Heritage subject:

the 10 denars stamp (the one on the left) depicts an is something that is still used today by the craftsmen, blacksmiths in particular...even though as a walk of life it may be disappearing, if you walk around the Old Bazaar in Skopje, for example, you will come across old small blacksmiths' workshops. From what Ive heard, a craftsmen chamber has been established in Macedonia, which offers help and support to the craftsmen people.
Here is one video, which unfortunately is in Macedonian, but it is a nice example to see what I was talking about...the video has been taken in the Old Bazaar in the blacksmith street, where years ago it was full of blacksmith's workshops...nowadays, the remaining people who still perform these activities complain how the modern industry simply destroys the crafts and how they only work for little money and that young people nowadays are totally disinterested in these so-called, old-fashioned activities.

the second stamp of a 20 denars face-value represents a horse-shoe. I dont know if this belief is present in other cultures as well, but here in Macedonia it is believed that if one hangs a horse-shoe on the wall in the house, that should bring luck to that family or that they will protect you from the evil spirits and goblins :)
The open part of the horseshoe should look downwards according to its position in the as the horse runs forwards, so the fortune should go forwards inside the house.

the size of both of these stamps is 40.2x30.2mm, offset printing technique in a sheet of 9 stamps. When used together, both stamps are postage-perfect for postcards.  

well, sorry for the longish post...I hope you werent bored :) For more crafty posts please visit Viridian's blog...just click on the button below:


  1. I love the horseshoe stamp. I love reading historical naval fiction and it's not unusual for ships to nail a horseshoe on a mast to protect the sailors against storms. There's argument on the proper position of the horseshoe too, with the open part upward, to keep luck from falling out, or with the open part downward to let luck fall on others. Who knows? And my favorite tequila? Herradura, which in Spanish means horseshoe! Happy Sunday!

  2. In America we have stories about horseshoes and luck too, as you have described. thanks for participating.

  3. I have an old horseshoe I found on a backpacking trip many years ago. I don't have it hanging up now, but maybe I should hang it up.

  4. I love all your stamps - and what I love the most are the stories you have told us. The pattern on the bag reminds of the lumads (native people) of the Mindanao region in the Phils whose fabrics are similar to that. Great to see similarities! Back in the 90s, I was fortunate to produce a feature video of a local blacksmith in my hometown. I'm sad though that these skilled blacksmiths are disappearing and are replaced by machines, as is in the Phils and every where in the world, I guess. My very first necklace bought by my dad had a gold horseshoe pendant, for good luck, he said. So the horseshoe's luck is universal :)

    Postcards Crossinng and My Stamp Menagerie

  5. The traditional handicrafts are lovely. In England it used to be a custom to give the bride a horseshoe at the wedding, and it can be seen in many old wedding photos, but I don't think it's done nowadays.

  6. Love the Macadonian stamp--very neat. I have an old horseshoe that was dug up from my Grandfathers farm from the 1800's. Really don't believe the in "luck" thing but I really enjoy owning it.

  7. Pretty bag, I love the image you paint of the warm bread and cheese being carried inside. We still have a few blacksmiths left but I wonder if there will be any to follow them in the future. Fascinating post.

  8. I'm not bored, I actually enjoy reading your post. Such an interesting inforation about Macedonia.
    Thanks for stopping by at my Sunday Stamp entry.

  9. Great article, very informative. I didn't know this information before, so this was very curious to read. Thanks!