Postage stamps

Postage stamps are singular sources for music iconography. Since these images comprise officially sanctioned national and international recognition, they provide windows on what governments and constituencies in various cultures and at various times have deemed worthy of celebration.

For example, the South Indian magazine Sruti regularly features philatelic reports on stamps issued by the Indian Department of Posts; these include an impressive number of commemorations of composers and performers from India’s classical Karnatak and Hindustani traditions. The stamp pictured above was issued to honor the śahnāī player Bismillāh Khān (1915–2006) on 21 August 2008.

Below, the music of Ghanaian postal workers canceling stamps.

Related article: Music stamps redux

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Filed under Asia, Iconography, Reception

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