The postage stamp may fit in the palm of the hand, but the information it may visually convey may extend far and wide, as it is the case with Stamps around the World, a month-long exhibition in the International Languages department. Here’s a closer look at some of the stamps.
Fennec (Fennecus zerda) is the smallest fox in the world with remarkably large ears. It lives in the Great Desert of Africa – Sahara, and the name derives from the Arabic فنك (fenek), which simply means fox. It is this little wonder that Saint-Exupery encounters in Wind, Sand and Stars (French title: Terre des hommes) when his plane crashes in Sahara and is later presented simply as the fox in The Little Prince.
Tlaquepaque is a city in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, and was formerly know as San Pedro. The name derives from Nahuatl and means “Place above land of clay.” It is a preeminent handicraft center, known especially for its textiles, hand blown glass and pottery.
Nippon or Nihon is the official name for Japan used by the Japanese. It is written in Kanji - 日本 - and literally means "the origin of the sun." Often it is translated as the “Land of the Rising Sun.”
Hedy Lamarr (Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler) was an Austrian born international actress and inventor. Along with the American composer George Antheil, she co-invented a techniqe for frequency-hopping spread spectrum. This invention is notable for paving the way for today’s wireless communications.
The collection has been put together by the departmental team, and it is looking forward to growing up soon, just like a little child, to cover more countries. If there are any orphaned stamps, used or unused, on or around the envelopes, that are looking for a new home, we will be glad to accept them, and the donation will be kindly appreciated.
The study of the stamps is known as Philately, from French philatélie, which in its turn is made of two Greek words – philo, “love” and ateleia, “free from tax or charge.” The term was coined by Georges Herpin in the 19th century to convey the idea of permitting a letter to arrive free of charge to the recipient. Books about stamps from different countries are displayed along with the exhibition in the International Languages department.