Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Postcard #14: Pakistan: King Priest from Moenjodaro - A UNESCO World Heritage Site in Pakistan

A beautiful postcard from Pakistan featuring the "King Priest" found from the ancient ruins of Moenjodaro in Sindh, Pakistan.

Seated male sculpture is called as "Priest King" (even though there is no evidence that either priests or kings ruled the city). This 17.5 cm tall statue is one of the most beautiful artifacts, which has become a symbol for the Indus valley civilization. Archaeologists discovered the sculpture in Lower town at Mohenjo-daro in 1927. It was found in an unusual house with ornamental brickwork and a wall niche and was lying between brick foundation walls which once held up a floor.

This bearded sculpture wears a fillet around the head, an armband, and a cloak decorated with trefoil patterns that were originally filled with red pigment.

The two ends of the fillet fall along the back and though the hair is carefully combed towards the back of the head, no bun is present. The flat back of the head may have held a separately carved bun as is traditional on the other seated figures, or it could have held a more elaborate horn and plumed headdress.

Two holes beneath the highly stylized ears suggest that a necklace or other head ornament was attached to the sculpture. The left shoulder is covered with a cloak decorated with trefoil, double circle and single circle designs that were originally filled with red pigment. Drill holes in the centre of each circle indicate they were made with a specialized drill and then touched up with a chisel. Eyes are deeply incised and may have held inlay. The upper lip is shaved and a short combed beard frames the face. The large crack in the face is the result of weathering or it may be due to original firing of this object. There was also indoor plumbing and well paved and drained streets. The city was in a grid pattern unlike Ur where many thieves and other bad people got away with crimes and no good. Mohenjo-Daro also had tall watchtowers instead of walls(again unlike Ur) to watch instead of protect the city.

Moenjodaro (Mound of the Dead), discovered in 1922, is situated on the West Bank of the river Indus. It has one of the earliest and the most developed urban civilizations of ancient world. It forms a part of the Indus River civilization of Harappa. It is located 1287.48 km away from Moenjodaro. The Indus River civilization flourished from somewhere third till the middle of second millenium B.C. before it vanquished from the world.

Moenjodaro had mud-brick and baked-brick buildings with covered drainage system.In addition to this, soakpits for disposal bins, a large state grannary, a spacious pillared hall, a collage of priests, a large and imposing building (probably a palace) and a citadel mound which incorporates in its margin a system of solid burnt brick tower were also found in the city.

Moenjodaro looks like a planned, organized and master architecture of urban settlement. Beneath the citadel, parallel streets, some 30 feet wide, stretched away and are crossed by other straight streets, which divide the town into a great oblong block, each 400 yards in length, and 200 to 300 yards in width. The most imposing remains are those of a Great Hall which consisted of an open quadrangle with verandahs on four sides, galleries and rooms on the back, a group of halls on the north and a large bathing pool. It was probably used for religious or ceremonial bathing.

How advanced were the people in ancient times......... Can you imagine now???

Can we still call ouselves ADVANCED???

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Postcard # 13: Belgium: Onze Lieve Vrouw (Cathedral) in Antwerp

Hello pals!
What an entertaining, interesting and informative hobby is it!!!!
Here is a postcard which I believed to be from Turkey until minutes ago while doing some research for this post, I came to know that it is a postcard from Belgium.
This vintage postcard from Belgium features an inside view of Onze Lieve Vrouw (Cathedral)in Antwerp - a city in Belgium.

Antwerp is the 2nd largest city in Belgium, and is known for its excellent nightlife, 16th and 17th century architecture, and as the World's diamond centre.

Antwerp's Cathedral is the largest example of gothic architecture in Belgium. It dates from the 14th and 15th century, and in 1566 much of its interior decoration was destroyed by the Iconoclastic Fury. However the interior now contains work by Rubens and his students. 

This beautiful postcard was written but not stamped by one of my dad's closest friend years ago. I think that the card was received somewhere in early 1980s or may be in late 1970s. There is no date of posting on the back.

Its definitely a wonderful vitage postcard to cherish!!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Postcard # 12: Pakistan: 9th SAF Games Islamabad Postcard # 4

Here is the 4th and the final postcard from Pakistan issued on the occasion of 9th SAF Games Islamabad. You can see the details of the official mascot Bholu - the Himalayan Bear in the last post. Have fun 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Postcard # 11: Pakistan:9th SAF Games Postcard # 3

Here is the 3rd postcard issued on the occasion of 9th SAF Games, Pakistan. This beautiful postcard from Pakistan features the two mascots of the games. Bholu, the Himalayan Bear, was the official mascot of the 9th SAF Games and he was helped by her co-mascot/friend Sassi - the Blind Indus Dolphin. In the center the postcard shows Bholu carrying the SAF Games Torch with Sassi smiling on his huge tummy while on the sidelines of the postcard they are shown playing various sports.

Here is a brief account of both these beautiful animals:-

The Himalayan Bear: The Himalayan Brown Bear (Ursus arctos isabellinus) is a subspecies of the Brown Bear. Himalayan Brown Bears are usually sandy or reddish-brown in color. They are located in the foothills of the Himalaya and Northern PakistanThe actual population of the bears is unknown due to their rarity but is estimated at around 20-28 in the Deosai National Park.  The Himalayan Brown Bear and the Himalayan Red Bear (the Dzu-Teh) are also believed to be the source of the legend of the Yeti. Anyone having any idea if the bears in "Goldilocks and the three bears" are also brown bears or some other species??? :) 
Pakistan Post has also issued a set of 4 WWF stamps to save Himalayan Black Bear in 1989 which is another beautiful yet endangered species of Himalayan bear family.

The Blind Indus DolphinThe Blind Indus River Dolphin (Platanista Gangetica Minor) is one of the world's rarest mammals and the second most endangered freshwater river dolphin. Approximately 1,100 specimens of this species exist today in a small fraction of their former range, the lower reaches of the Indus River in Pakistan. The population of this species has gradually declined because of various factors, including water pollution, poaching, fragmentation of habitat due to barrages, and dolphin strandings in the irrigation canals. Pakistan Post has also issued a set of 2 beautiful stamps on Indus Blind Dolphin in 1982.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Postcard # 10: Pakistan; SAF Games Postcard # 2

The 2nd postcard from Pakistan of the series of 4 postcards is here in front of you. It features an athlete who is trying to do something strange. I have failed to make out whether he is trying to run or make a long jump or just taking a start for a triple jump. 

Can you suggest what he is up to? Probably he is just trying to follow Wright Brothers without a set of wings.......... :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Postcard # 9: Pakistan; SAF Games Postcard

Hi! Here is the first postcard of a series of 4 postcards which I will be uploading in 4 days starting from today. This particular postcard features the event of Swimming.

These Pakistani postcards were issued for the promotion of the games and to generate funds for the organization of the games scheduled to be held in 2001 but actually took place in 2004 due to various reasons. You can read more on the subject/ reasons for delay by following the below links to my recent posts on the same subject:-

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Postcard # 8: Pakistan: Fasting Buddha in Lahore Museum

Here is a marvellous postcard from PakistanA Pakistani postcard featuring the statue of "Fasting Buddha" or "Starving Buddha" from 2nd century AD placed in Lahore Museum, Lahore

The Gandhara Fasting Buddha (Siddharatha) statue in Lahore Museum is considered to be the masterpiece of the earliest world and is given special importance. According to the legend, 

"The young prince Siddharatha left his palace in search of enlightenment and practised for six years such severe austerities and intense mental concentration that his beautiful body withered away to skin and bones. Ultimately he attained enlightenment at the age of thirty five and became known as the Buddha "The enlightened one". This resolve was illustrated for the first time in Gandhara art. This so called statue of Fasting Siddharatha ranks not only as the finest specimen of Gandhara Art, but also as one of the rarest antiquities of the earliest world."

In 1999, Pakistan Post also issued a set of 2 stamps featuring the Fasting Buddha on 21 July 1999. I will show you the FDC of the stamps in the near future.

Lahore Museum(photo above) is considered as one of the major museums in South Asia and was established in 1894 in Lahore, Pakistan. Here is an interesting fact about Lahore Museum - 

Rudyard Kipling's father John Lockwood Kipling, was one of the famous curators of Lahore Museum and the famous novel Kim was set in the vicinity of this museum.

Lahore Museum exhibits the recorded history of the subcontinent. Part of the collection was removed to India after Partition but this is still the biggest and the most impressive museum in Pakistan. The museum has 20 galleries with items dating from the Stone age to the 20th century. It is famous for its display of Gandharan sculpture (especially the fasting Buddha), manuscripts, Qurans, paintngs, carpets and Islamic art. The Museum also contains some fine specimens of Mughal and Sikh door-ways, wood-work and contains a large collection of paintings dating back to the Mughal, Sikh and British eras.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Postcard #7: North Korea, Flight Tower in Pyongyang

Here is another postcard from a hard-to-find country. What a treat! A postcard from North Korea. The postcard shows a joy ride and the back of the postcard mentions the name of the ride as "Flight Tower" in Pyongyang, which is the capital of North Korea. I could not find more information onthis beautiful ride.

How many of you have a postcard from North Korea??? 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Postcard #6: Water Skiing Resort, Kaptai Lake, East Pakistan (Bangladesh)

Here I have a beautiful vintage post card from East Pakistan (Now Bangladesh). The postcard shows a beautiful scene of water skiing at Lake Kaptai. It is a very old card as the back of the card reads: "Issued by Department of Tourism, Government of Pakistan, Club Road, Karachi". 

East Pakistan got separated from West Pakistan(Presently "Pakistan") and became Bangladesh in 1971. So it obviously is a postcard from 1971 or pre-1971 era. I don't know whether the water ski resort still exists there or not? Can a friend from Bangladesh enlighten all of us on the issue???

Kaptai Lake is a man-made lake in South-eastern Bangladesh. The H-shaped lake was created as a result of building of Kaptai Dam on the Kamaphuli River. The dam construction project started in 1956 and finished in 1962. The palace of the king ofthe Chakmas also came under water as a result of filling of the dam.

Is this how a Parrot looks like???

It is said, "Much talking is the cause of danger. Silence is the means of avoiding misfortune. The talkative PARROT is shutup in a cage. Other birds without speech, fly freely about".

Here is another one of my die-hard efforts in the field of Origami - A parrot. I made the parrot while trying to spend some cool time with my daughters. Both of them enjoyed the making part but when it was completed, my elder daughter Noor (then 3 years old) exclaimed, "Dad! This is not how a parrot looks like"
I was stunned to hear the comments about my masterpiece. Then I realized that it was constructed with white paper. So I coloured it in green and red. Thank God! She agreed that it was really a PARROT.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Fish From the Local Pond

Here is just a beautiful piece of Origami which I made for my cute little sparrows. They love fish after watching "Finding Nemo". Can someone from Taiwan get me a set of two miniature sheets with "Finding Nemo" theme? The miniature sheets were issued in 2008. I am dying to lay my hands on them.....

Are there any other friends who like to create crafts by using paper or anything? If yes! What all? Just leave a comment.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Postcard #5: The Great Mosque of Herat, Afghanistan

Here is another amazing, unique, gorgeous and hard-to-find postcard from a hard-to-find country Afghanistan. Afghanistan is located in the North-West of my beloved country Pakistan. Because of the decades long fighting in the country, millions of Afghans have migrated to Pakistan and most of the country has turned to ruins.  There are hardly any collectors or swappers left in the country.

The Afghanistan postcard features the beautiful "Great Mosque of Herat" or "Friday Mosque of Herat". Herat is a city located in Western Afghanistan and because of its fertile land, Herat is traditionally known for its wine. Its is the 2nd largest city of Afghanistan after Kabul. The city of Herat was also sumbitted as one of the properties on the tentative list for registeration as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.

The back of the above Afghanistan postcard shows that the postcard was published in 2001 by Afghan Art & Culture Saloon (AACS) in Kabul, Afghanistan. It is my first postcard from Afghanistan on the blog. I have some others as well including a beautiful Afghan postcard of a Buddha Statue in Bamiyan Valley, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. I will soon be sharing that postcard as well with you. If any of you want any Afghanistan Postcards for their collection, I can give it a try to find some for them. "Which one" remains an answered question till the time when any of you need it. ;)

Does anyone of you want a postcard from Afghanistan for your collection???

The construction work on the present Great Mosque of Herat was started initially by Ghurid ruler Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad b. Sam in 1200AD and afterwards completed by his successor and brother Shihab al-Din. In 13th century Cengiz Khan pillaged the province and the building fell to ruin. Rebuilding and renovations work/ programs were undertaken by the Kart rulers in 1306AD and again after the devastating earthquake in 1364AD.  It was repeatedly repaired, renovated by various rulers until a new mosque was built in Herat and the importance of the old mosque was over-shadowed. Little was left of the "Great Mosque of Herat" by the mid of twentieth century when a major reconstruction and renovation work was carried out after 1945AD. The mosque was expanded and decorated in its present shape. 

I hope that I have done some justice with this beautiful piece of architecture by searching hard and adding the above details about it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Postcard #4: Lake Piso, Liberia

A nice gift from a lovely brother. Thank you Adeel Bhai for this nice postcard from Liberia. Its a view postcard with a very nice scenic view of Lake Piso in Liberia. Lake Piso is also known as Lake Pisu and Fisherman's Lake. It is a oblong tidallagoon in Grand Cape Mount County in Western Liberia. Located close to the town of Robertsport, it is the largest lake in Liberia with an area of 103 sq km. 

The name of the lake originates from a local term which means "Pigeon's Hole" - A reference to the flocks of pigeons that once came to Lake Piso to drink water.

The postcard will also help me to add to the Postcard Friendship Friday at another friend's blog.
Best Regards