Thursday, June 6, 2013

500 Years Portugal-China

Souvenir sheet

First Day Cover with stamps
First Day Cover with souvenir sheet
2013 marks the five hundred years of the direct relationship of cooperation and friendship between Portugal and China. Our aim is to highlight the longevity of this relationship between the Portuguese people and Chinese people, who despite being geographically situated in opposite sides of the globe and having natural civilizational differences, were able to share common interests and develop platforms for a stable and lasting relationship.

Afonso de Albuquerque was viceroy of India in 1509, having finally been recognized by D. Francisco de Almeida the royal appointment of the previous year.
He soon turns his attention to the distribution source of spices from the Moluccas, the city of Malacca, his base since 1511.

As a nephew of his, Jorge de Albuquerque, was Governor of Malacca, they continued the trade travels to the East. On one of these trips aboard a ‘Junco’, Jorge Álvares arrived on the Island of Tamao (Lintin) which was about three miles from the Chinese mainland coast, leaving there a testimony of his passage (Padrão), thus becoming in 1513 the first European to trade in China, arriving by sea.

In the sixteenth century a community of Portuguese descents began to develop there, and together with the Chinese people they made Macau a fundamental and permanent hub of the friendly relations between East and West. The relations between Portugal and China, besides being the oldest with a permanent contact between Europe and China, take pride in having significantly contributed to mutual understanding and sharing of knowledge. The Portuguese became part of the maritime mercantile networks in the Indian Ocean and China Sea, giving them continuity and an innovative link to the Atlantic Ocean.

Portugal was also a pioneer in spreading the fondness for Chinese elements in Europe (later known as Chinoiserie), and in the American and African continents. The influence of Chinese civilization and culture in the West has naturally assumed different forms and rhythms. In the past, it expressed itself in different art forms, including architecture and interior and exterior design, in fashion, but also in gastronomy.

In the 21st century, relations between Portugal and China take on a special role, People's Republic of China declaring their strategic partnership, resulting in greater intensity of trade and reinforcement of cultural initiatives.

It is particularly worth pointing out in 2013: the 20th anniversary of the Macao Basic Law (an initiative by the Government of the People's Republic of China, and Portugal), as well as the 10 years of establishment of the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries (Macao Forum).

Technical Details
Date of Issue: 08 May 2013
Values: stamps of 0,36€ and 0,80€.
Special sheet with one stamp of 3,00€
0,36€ Bússola artesanal tradicional chinesa/chinese
traditional handcraft compass,
foto © Shi Guangde-Xinhua Press/Corbis;
0,80€ «Carta do Extremo Oriente» (pormenor),
de Diogo Homem, inserida no Atlas Universal, datada de
1558/Map of Southern Asia and the Spice Islands (detail),
by Diogo Homem. Image taken from Queen Mary Atlas, 1558.
© British Library Board;
Souvenir sheet:
Garrafa, China, dinastia Ming, período de Jiajing (1522-66), datada de 1552, col. Museu do Caramulo;
Map of Southern Asia and the Spice Islands (detail), by Diogo Homem.
Image taken from Queen Mary Atlas, 1558.
© British Library Board
Acknowledgments: Almirante Cavaleiro Ferreira, Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, British Library Board, Museu do Caramulo.
Designer: Folk Design
Printer: Cartor, France
Process: Offset
Size: 30,6 x 40 mm
Size special sheet: 95 x 125 mm
Perforation: Cross of Christ 13 x 13
Paper: FSC 110 g./m2
Sheet: with 50 stamps

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Traditional Portuguese Festivals

First Day Cover with stamps
The “Festa da Senhora da Agonia de Viana do Castelo” (Feast of Our Lady of Agony, Viana do Castelo), held in August, is a prominent hallmark in the world of Portuguese pilgrimage. The feast is famous for the luxury of the costumes, the gold worn by the major-domos and for the richness of the ethnographic procession, and includes religious processions, parades, the “gigantones e cabeçudos” (giants and big-headed puppets) variety show, as well as groups of bass drummers, pipers and “Zés- Pereiras”, a huge folk festivity and the famous Minho firework displays. The main trait is the devotion of the seamen, who reciprocate the grace received during storms and shipwrecks. The main float is therefore traditionally transported by fishermen; since 1968, a river procession started being held at the Lima River, featuring the statue of this saint.

The “Festa de Santo Estevão” (Feast of Saint Estevão) in Ousilhão is part of the Cycle of the Twelve Days of Northeast Trás-os-Montes, celebrated around the time of the Winter solstice. Besides the important role of the “Caretos”1, who are offending characters who ritually steal the smoker during the rounds, the major-domos of these festivities include a king, vassals and young men. The food ritual, in this case, involves a group meal – the table of St. Estevão –, and the central role of circulating and distributing the food offerings.

The “Festa de São Mateus” (Feast of Saint Mateus) being an icon of the city of Viseu, is said to have been established as a free fair since 1392. History also claims that it was a gift from king João I, Master of Avis, on account of Viseu being the only Portuguese city to have been on his side during the 1383-1385 crisis. From the 16th century onwards, it became known as Feira de São Mateus (São Mateus Fair), its current name, and with its more than 620 years of existence, is considered one of the oldest fairs in the country and maybe even in the Iberian Peninsula. Within an area of about 18,000 m2, hundreds of merchants and vendors, mainly of local gastronomy and handicrafts, join a varied programme of musical and sports shows, attracting thousands of visitors throughout the 40 days of the event, from mid-August to mid-September.

The pilgrimage of “Senhora do Almortão” (Our Lady of Almortão), in the municipality of Idanha-a-Nova, takes place fifteen days after Easter and is the most important pilgrimage in the region. Legend has it that

the statue of Our Lady appeared in a myrtle bush. When people tried to take it to Monsanto, it would disappear and reappear at the initial location, where the shrine was built so that the statue would not disappear again. The celebration includes religious and profane aspects, defined by the characteristic singing for good tidings to Our Lady of Almortão, accompanied by tambourines.

The “Festas do Povo de Campo Maior” (Festivities of the people of Campo Maior) started in 1909 as part of the cult of St. John the Baptist, patron saint of the village since the 16th century. Without a fixed periodicity, these festivities take place “at the people’s wish” – the last ones having been held in 2004 and 2011. The street decorations in the historic centre, with flowers and other paper pointers, are a prodigy of the ephemeral art and are a result of all of the residents’ initiative. The work starts some six months in advance and each street chooses a theme, keeping it a secret to be revealed publicly on the “enramação” night (26th to 27th September), when the decorations are put up on the streets. The 27th is the official opening of the festivities.

The feast in honour of “Nossa Senhora de Gadalupe” (Our Lady of Guadalupe), in the municipality of Serpa, is associated with the Easter celebrations. Being a saint worshipped by the numerous graces she grants, as seen in the “former vows” offered to her and reports on her intercession, particularly on the scourge of the 1868 drought, the festivities in her honour include religious and profane expressions. The former includes the procession on Easter Sunday, during which the statue is taken down from its shrine in São Gens and taken to Salvador church. The ethnographic procession then takes place, which includes extras on foot and allegoric floats, recreating the history and traditions of the municipality. On Monday morning, the solemn procession in honour of the patron saint takes place and in the afternoon the procession takes to the city streets, which are carpeted with rosemary. This set of ceremonial routes ends with a procession on Tuesday, in which the statue is brought back to its shrine in Altinho. The meals in the countryside, which include lamb stew, are just as important for their association with the celebration of the rejuvenation naturally brought by the spring cycle.

Technical Details
Date of Issue: 30 April 2013
Values: stamps of 0,03€, 0,04€, 0,36€, 0,50€, 0,70€, 0,80€, 1,00€ and 1,70€.
Acknowledgments: Clara Saraiva e Benjamim Enes Pereira
Designer: Atelier Whitestudio
Printer: INCM
Process: Offset
Size: 30,6 x 27,7mm
Perforation: 11 3/4 x 11 3/4
Paper: FSC 110 g./m2
Sheet: with 100 stamps

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Major Characters of Portuguese History and Culture

JOÃO HENRIQUE PEREIRA VILLARET was born in Lisbon, on 10 May 1913, soon revealing an artistic vocation. From a young age, he tested his talent at a small amateur theatre group based on the ground floor of the building where he was born. João Villaret completed a Degree in Drama at the Conservatório Nacional (Portuguese Conservatory) at the age of 18, having made his first theatrical appearance in 1931, at the Teatro Nacional Almeida Garrett (Almeida Garrett Theatre).
With a 30-year-long, dazzling career, João Villaret was considered the most prominent actor of his generation, having achieved true stardom in Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique and Argentina.
João Villaret was a versatile actor, having performed in classical plays, comic plays and music hall shows, as well as in the cinema, radio and television. A theatre actor above all, João Villaret also distinguished himself as a poetry reader, having earned the respect and admiration of poets and public alike. He died in Lisbon, on 21 January 1961, at the age of 47.

ILSE LOSA was born on 20 March 1913, in Northern Germany. Persecuted by the Nazis for being the daughter of Jewish couple, Ilse Losa escaped to Portugal in 1934, where her brother would introduce her to a group of people who attended the Belas Artes (School of Fine Arts). It would be through this group that Ilse Losa would meet her future husband, architect Arménio Losa, and continue to make friends within an intellectual circle that opposed the political regime of the time.
Having decided to write in Portuguese, Ilse Losa had lessons with Professor Óscar Lopes. After publishing her first novel, O mundo em que vivi (“The world in which I have lived”), in 1943, Ilse Losa continued to write novels, tales, children’s books and articles for newspapers.
In the 80’s, Afrontamento republished Ilse Losa’s works for adult readers and Asa hired her to manage a collection of books for young adults, which included some of her own works, as well as works by invited authors and illustrators. From this period onwards, Ilse Losa would dedicate herself mostly to children’s books.
Ilse Losa’s writing evolved considerably over a period that spanned more than 30 years of her life, due to her continued study of the Portuguese language and to her reading of works by Portuguese writers, leading this author to embrace the lengthy project of rewriting all her works.
Ilse Losa received several decorations and awards, such as the Great Gulbenkian Award for her children’s books and ,in 1998, the Great Chronicle Award of the Associação Portuguesa de Escritores (APE) for the book À Flor do Tempo.

JOÃO dos Santos was born in Lisbon on 15 September 1913. He was a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst and was the founder of modern Child Mental Health and Child Psychiatry in Portugal. He received degrees in Physical Education and Medicine. Worked with Vítor Fontes at the Costa Ferreira Institute and Barahona Fernandes at the Júlio de Matos Hospital with responsibility for Child Mental Health.
Barred from public office for his political views, became a researcher in the French Scientific  esearch Centre and worked with Henri Wallon, Serge Lebovici, the pioneer of Child Psychoanalysis in France, and others.
Returned to Portugal in 1950 and created children’s organizations such as Eduardo Claparède College, Helen Keller Centre and the Portuguese Association for the Disabled. Helped set up the first Children Mental Health Services in Portugal and was a founder of the Portuguese Psychoanalytical Society. Was a Professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Education Science and the National School for Public Health.

EDGAR ANTONIO DE MESQUITA CARDOSO was born in Porto, on 11 May 1913. After finishing a Degree in Civil Engineering, in 1937, with final classification of 95%, following an apprenticeship at the Junta Autónoma de Estradas (JAE) (Portuguese Road Council), Edgar Cardoso started working at this institution as a third-class engineer, in 1938.
Edgar Cardoso applied for a Professorship at the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) (Higher Technical Education Institute) in December 1951, having become Professor of Bridges and Special Structures on 22 December of that year.
Edgar Cardoso proposed the experimental method using small-size models as the most effective way of studying the behaviour of their real-life equivalents, having designed more than 500 structures, considered as veritable works of art, throughout his professional life, including bridges, ports, airports and large buildings, all across the world.
Edgar Cardoso received an Honorary Degree by the University of Rio de Janeiro, was a member of the Academia de Ciências de Lisboa (Lisbon Academy of Sciences) and received the highest national and international awards. The chief advocate of a new paradigm in the field of structural engineering, Edgar Cardoso brought recognition to his country and to the scientific community to which he  belonged.

RAÚL RÊGO – Journalist, republican, democrat and winner of the Gold Quill Award for Freedom (1976).
Raúl d’Assunção Pimenta Rêgo (Morais, 15 April 1913 – Lisbon, 1 February 2002). Raul Rêgo finished a Degree in Theology (1936) but was never ordained and soon severed ties with the church.
Having started his career as a teacher – a profession he was forced to abandon due to Government pressure –, Raúl Rêgo later pursued a career as a journalist, having worked for the Seara Nova, Reuters, Jornal do Comércio and Diário de Lisboa newspapers and eventually becoming the Director of República (1971) and A Luta (1975).
An opponent of the Fascist Regime, Raúl Rêgo was arrested on three different occasions. A founder of the Socialist Party, he became a Minister and a Parliament Member after the April 25th Revolution.
Raúl Rêgo joined the Freemasons (1971, G.O.L.), having risen to the positions of Sovereign Grand Commander and Grand Master.
A humanist, Raúl Rêgo held Erasmus as an example and was passionate about books, which he collected and studied, being considered one of the great Portuguese bibliophiles.
Raúl Rêgo placed human dignity above his own interests, firstly by condemning the acts of the Inquisition (which he compared to the political police), and later by defending the right to freedom of conscience before the Portuguese Parliament.

Technical Details
Date of Issue: 16 April 2013
Values: stamps of 0,36€, 0,60€, 0,70€, 0,80€ and 1,00€.
Designer: Folk Design
Printer: INCM
Process: Offset
Size: 40 x 30,6 mm
Perforation: Cross of Christ 13 x 13
Paper: FSC 110 g./m2
Sheet: with 50 stamps

Monday, June 3, 2013