Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My eBay purchases

What a fruitful day! Today I received 2 of my eBay purchases and I am happy to share them with you.
The first consists of 2 sets of stamps issued by Indonesia, depicting Wayang, a traditional puppetry and drama of Indonesia.

Wayang Kulit or shadow puppet is prevalent in Java and Bali, and is without a doubt the best known of the Indonesian wayang. In Javanese, wayang means shadow, and kulit means skin, referring to the leather construction of the puppets that are carefully chiseled with very fine tools and supported with carefully shaped buffalo horn handles and control rods. In a Wayang Kulit performance, flat cut-out figures are silhouetted against a translucent, white screen, with a coconut-husk lamp as its source of light.
On 7 November 2003, UNESCO designated Wayang Kulit as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Wayang Golek are wooden doll puppets that are operated from below by rods connected to the hands and a central control rod that runs through the body to the head. The simple construction of the puppets belies their versatility, expressiveness and aptitude for imitating human dance. Little is known for certain about the history of Wayang Golek, but scholars have speculated that it most likely originated in China and arrived in Java sometime in the seventeenth century.

When Islam began spreading in Indonesia, the display of God or gods in human form was prohibited, and thus this style of painting and shadow play was suppressed. King Raden patah of Demak, Java, wanted to see the wayang in its traditional form, but failed to obtain permission from the Muslim religious leaders. As an alternative, the religious leaders converted the Wayang Golek into Wayang Purwa made from leather, and displayed only the shadow instead of the figures itself. Instead of the forbidden figures only their shadow picture was displayed, hence the birth of the Wayang Kulit.
The third is Wayang Orang and Orang in Bahasa Indonesia mean person, and the "puppets" in this art form are human performers. Wayang Orang was historically staged only within the palaces of Yogyakarta and Surakarta, but its popularity rose and Wayang Orang came to be performed in public. In Wayang Orang, the dalang (narrator and troupe leader) only provides a suluk (prelude) to the story, and the performers dance, sing and speak -- usually in Javanese -- to act out the drama.

The second item that i received today is a 10cents Postage Currency issued by United States in 1864.

Postage Currency, was a series of US Post Office notes printed in 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, and 50¢ denominations issued on August 21, 1862 through February 15, 1876. They were valid for redemption of postage stamps and, while not actually valid as legal tender, they could be exchanged for United States Notes in $5 lots and receivable in payment of all dues to the United States, up to $5. Essentially, they were postage stamps printed on Treasury paper.

When the American Civil War broke out, many people started hoarding coins. There was a near universal fear that paper currency would become worthless, especially to the losing side. Deprived of coins with which to make change, many businesses issued their own notes, tokens, or similar printed matter as a way of making change. The 5¢ and 10¢ notes depicted the same pictures as the postage stamps that were current at the time with Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. The 25¢ and 50¢ denominations simply had 5 images of the smaller denomination stamps pictured on one note.

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