Turkey - Traditional craftsmanship of Çini-making

"Çini are traditional, handmade glazed tiles and ceramics made in Turkey featuring colourful motifs of plants, animals and geometric patterns often found on facades of buildings and in homes throughout the country. Producing çini involves a series of processes. The clay is first shaped, lined, dried and fired in ovens specifically for çini making. Designs representing local customs and beliefs are then drilled on paper and transferred to the surface with coal dust. Outer contours of the patterns are hand drawn, the surface dyed in various colours and then the work is glazed and fired. Çini-making workshops involve craftspeople, supervisors and apprentices. Each craftsperson has a specific role – shaping, design and dye, polishing and undercoating or firing. Practitioners consider çini making as an outlet for self-expression, development and healing, as well as a means of maintaining an art form that is a symbolic aspect of Turkey’s cultural identity, strengthening links from the past to the present providing continuity. Çini making is not confined to workshop spaces. The tradition is also practised in the home, public education centres, vocation schools and universities throughout the country where neither age, gender nor ethnicity are barriers to knowledge sharing, transmission and skills development."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Postcard 1
Tiles. Thanks to Gokce of Turkey.



Postcard 2
Thanks to Dilek of Turkey for this Ceramic postcard sent from Turkey.




China - The Twenty-Four Solar Terms

The Twenty-Four Solar Terms, knowledge in China of time and practices developed through observation of the sun’s annual motion:

"The ancient Chinese divided the sun’s annual circular motion into 24 segments. Each segment was called a specific ‘Solar Term’. The element of Twenty-Four Solar Terms originated in the Yellow River reaches of China. The criteria for its formulation were developed through the observation of changes of seasons, astronomy and other natural phenomena in this region and has been progressively applied nationwide. It starts from the Beginning of Spring and ends with the Greater Cold, moving in cycles. The element has been transmitted from generation to generation and used traditionally as a timeframe to direct production and daily routines. It remains of particular importance to farmers for guiding their practices. Having been integrated into the Gregorian calendar, it is used widely by communities and shared by many ethnic groups in China. Some rituals and festivities in China are closely associated with the Solar Terms for example, the First Frost Festival of the Zhuang People and the Ritual for the Beginning of Spring in Jiuhua. The terms may also be referenced in nursery rhymes, ballads and proverbs. These various functions of the element have enhanced its viability as a form of intangible cultural heritage and sustain its contribution to the community’s cultural identity. Knowledge of the element is transmitted through formal and informal means of education."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Nice postcard of 小雪 Little Snow one of the 24 solar terms.  Thanks to Wulifei of China.

Japan - Yama, Hoko, Yatai, float festivals in Japan

"In cities and towns throughout Japan, float festivals are held by communities annually to pray to the gods for peace and protection from natural disasters. The element of Yama, Hoko and Yatai float festivals encompasses 33 representative examples in various regions throughout Japan showcasing the diversity of local cultures. They involve the collaborative efforts of various sections of the community and as a traditional practice are an important aspect of the cultural identity of participants. Men, women, the young and elderly from cities and other parts of the area share responsibility for the organization and running of the festivals. This includes every step from the design and construction of the floats that reflect the diversity of local culture, to the accompanying music and overall event coordination. The Takaoka Mikurumayama Festival, for example, involves residents from the city centre assembling the floats while those from surrounding areas are in charge of pulling the constructs and playing the music. Tasks cater for specific ages with senior bearers providing guidance to those less experienced and classes run for young people. For instance, for the Ueno Tenjin Festival participants first learn how to play the music (they are referred to as hayashikata), they then progress to steering the floats (tekogata), guarding them (keigoyaku) and finally, managing the festival (saihaiyaku)."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage


Postcard 1
I visited Kyoto twice. It has wonderful festivals all year round. This is a nice postcard showing th Yamahoko floats with nice stamp and stickers used. Thanks to Wakaba of Japan. Doumo.





Postcard 2
Gion Matsuri of Yamaboko is one of the most picturesque festivals of Japan held in Kyoto. Thanks to Chiri of USA.

South Korea - Culture of Jeju Haenyeo (women divers)

"In Jeju Island, there is a community of women, some aged in their 80s, which goes diving 10m under the sea to gather shellfish, such as abalone or sea urchins for a living without the help of oxygen masks. With knowledge of the sea and marine life, the Jeju haenyeo (female divers) harvest for up to seven hours a day, 90 days of the year holding their breath for just one minute for every dive and making a unique verbal sound when resurfacing. Divers are categorised into three groups according to level of experience: hagun, junggun and sanggun with the sanggun offering guidance to the others. Before a dive, prayers are said to the Jamsugut, goddess of the sea, to ask for safety and an abundant catch. Knowledge is passed down to younger generations in families, schools, local fishery cooperatives which have the area’s fishing rights, haenyeo associations, The Haenyeo School and Haenyeo Museum. Designated by the provincial government as representating the island’s character and people’s spirit, the culture of Jeju haenyeo has also contributed to the advancement of women’s status in the community and promoted environmental sustainability with its eco-friendly methods and community invovlement in management of fishing practices."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage


In Jeju, there is traditional diving to collect the harvest of seas with use of breathing devices. This is from a postcard set that I bought in South Korea.

Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan - Nawrouz, Novruz, Nowrouz, Nowrouz, Nawrouz, Nauryz, Nooruz, Nowruz, Navruz, Nevruz, Nowruz, Navruz

"New Year is often a time when people wish for prosperity and new beginnings. March 21 marks the start of the year in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It is referred to as Nauryz, Navruz, Nawrouz, Nevruz, Nooruz, Novruz, Nowrouz or Nowruz meaning ‘new day’ when a variety of rituals, ceremonies and other cultural events take place for a period of about two weeks. An important tradition practised during this time is the gathering around ‘the Table’, decorated with objects that symbolize purity, brightness, livelihood and wealth, to enjoy a special meal with loved ones. New clothes are worn and visits made to relatives, particularly the elderly and neighbours. Gifts are exchanged, especially for children, featuring objects made by artisans. There are also street performances of music and dance, public rituals involving water and fire, traditional sports and the making of handicrafts. These practices support cultural diversity and tolerance and contribute to building community solidarity and peace. They are transmitted from older to younger generations through observation and participation."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Postcard 1 - Azerbaijan
Novruz festival in Azerbaijan. Thanks to Sini of Finland for mailing from Azerbaijan.





Postcard 2 - Kyrgyzstan
Noruz festiavel in Kyrgyzstan - a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. Thanks to Alexander for mailing from Kyrgyzstan.






Postcard 3 - Tajikistan
National dressed dancer celebrating Narruz festival every March in Tajikistan. Thanks to Halim of Tajikistan.


Czechia - Puppetry in Slovenia and Czechia

"Puppet theatre for communities in Slovakia and Czechia is not only a popular form of traditional entertainment but also a way of conveying a vision of the world, and an educational tool with messages on moral values. The puppets, whose characters are real or imaginary, are mostly made of wood and animated using various methods. Initial bearers of the practice were families of travelling puppeteers whose works later absorbed local influences in language and themes using namely comical figures with distinct characteristics. Puppet theatre is an integral part of Slovak and Czech local theatre and literary tradition. It also plays an important role in socialization, helping performers to develop as creative thinkers and learn about cooperation, communication and to strengthen their sense of identity in society. Featuring with other traditional rituals and festive events like feast days, markets and fairs, puppet shows today come in many different forms but still draw from tradition. Practice bearers include performers, playwrights, puppet and costume makers, as well as stage designers. Skills are transmitted by imitation and practice within performer communities, while in Slovakia also transmission takes place in traditional puppetry dynasties, as well as through workshops run by not-for-profit organizations and music and arts schools."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage


Spejbl and Hurvinek are the most famous Czech puppets conceived by Professor Josef Skupa (1892-1957). Thanks to Marketa of Czech Republic. A great addition to my postcard collection of puppets worldwide.

Belgium - Beer culture in Belgium

"Making and appreciating beer is part of the living heritage of a range of communities throughout Belgium. It plays a role in daily life, as well as festive occasions. Almost 1,500 types of beer are produced in the country using different fermentation methods. Since the 80s, craft beer has become especially popular. There are certain regions, which are known for their particular varieties while some Trappist communities have also been involved in beer production giving profits to charity. In addition, beer is used for cooking including in the creation of products like beer-washed cheese and, as in the case of wine, can be paired with foods to compliment flavours. Several organizations of brewers exist who work with communities on a broad level to advocate responsible beer consumption. Sustainable practice has also become part of the culture with recyclable packaging encouraged and new technologies to reduce water usage in production processes. Besides being transmitted in the home and social circles, knowledge and skills are also passed down by master brewers who run classes in breweries, specialized university courses that target those involved in the field and hospitality in general, public training programmes for entrepreneurs and small test breweries for amateur brewers."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage



Belgium Beers - Cheers! Great stamps. Thanks to Filip of Belgium.


Austria - Classical horsemanship and the High School of the Spanish Riding School Vienna

"Classical horsemanship at the Spanish Riding School Vienna is the traditional art and practice of breeding, keeping, training and riding Lipizzaner horses. The School’s various social practices and culturally-shaped rituals and ceremonies are based on the long-lasting relationship between breeders, grooms, craftspeople, riders and horses. Grooms, the foals’ first point of contact, transmit basic knowledge of horse husbandry to cadets. Breeders tend to the horses and pair up stallions and mares to meet the demands of the School. Experienced riders and young cadets are responsible for the colts resulting in a special relationship between rider and horse. A cadet’s early years are spent learning proper horse care, maintenance and the correct handling and use of equipment. Experienced riders pass on knowledge to cadets through mentoring. Women now have an important role in this traditionally male domain, being equally admitted to all positions. Veterinary surgeons ensure the health of each horse while saddlers, blacksmiths, hatters, tailors and shoemakers are responsible for producing and maintaining the facilities. The tradition also gives communities within the School a strong sense of identity and ensures the safeguarding of techniques and craftsmanship in many fields related to horse husbandry."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage


Entrance of Spanish Court Riding School, Vienna, Austria. Thanks to Bernd of Austria. A great addition to my postcard collection of horses worldwide.

United Arab Emirates, Austria, Belgium, Czechia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Morocco, Pakistan, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Syrian Arab Republic: Falconry, A Living Human Heritage

"Falconry is the traditional activity of keeping and training falcons and other raptors to take quarry in its natural state. Originally a way of obtaining food, falconry is today identified with camaraderie and sharing rather than subsistence. Falconry is mainly found along migration flyways and corridors, and is practised by people of all ages, men and women, amateurs and professionals. Falconers develop a strong relationship and spiritual bond with their birds, and commitment is required to breed, train, handle and fly the falcons. Falconry is transmitted from generation to generation as a cultural tradition by a variety of means, including mentoring, learning within families, or formalized training in clubs. In Mongolia, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, for example, falconers take their children to the desert and train them to handle the bird and build a relationship of trust with it. While falconers come from different backgrounds, they share common values, traditions and practices such as the methods of training and caring for birds, the equipment used and the bonding between falconer and the bird, which are similar throughout the world. Falconry forms the basis of a wider cultural heritage, including traditional dress, food, songs, music, poetry and dance, all of which are sustained by the communities and clubs that practise it." 

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Collected: Austria, France, Mongolia, Qatar, UAE

Missing: Belgium, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Pakistan, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Syria

Postcard 1 - Falconry in Austria 
Falconry with vultures at Rosenburg Castle in Austria. Thanks to Marco of Austria.







Postcard 2 - Falconry in France 
Spectacle de Fauconnerie Equestre was held in Provins. Thanks to Sylvie of France who went to see this performance and bought this postcard.






Postcard 3 - Falconry in Mongolia
A postcard of Mongolian falconry. Falconry is now listed in 2010 as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in Mongolia, France, UAE and other countries. This is my 3rd postcard sent from Mongolia. Thanks to Cliffe.







Postcard 4 - Falconry in Qatar
Falconry in Qatar. Thanks to Ashraf of Qatar.





Postcard 5 - Falconry of United Arab Emirates
Falcons are important in UAE. Falcon is seen in the UAE stamps used. Thanks to Cazz of UK for sending this card from Ras Al Khaimal, one of the seven emirates of UAE.





Portugal - Cante Alentejano, polyphonic singing from Alentejo, southern Portugal

"Cante Alentejano is a genre of traditional two-part singing performed by amateur choral groups in southern Portugal, characterized by distinctive melodies, lyrics and vocal styles, and performed without instrumentation. Groups consist of up to thirty singers divided into groups. The ponto, in the lower range, starts the singing, followed by the alto, in the higher range, which duplicates the melody a third or a tenth above, often adding ornaments. The entire choral group then takes over, singing the remaining stanzas in parallel thirds. The alto is the guiding voice heard above the group throughout the song. A vast repertoire of traditional poetry is set to existing or newly created melodies. Lyrics explore both traditional themes such as rural life, nature, love, motherhood and religion, and changes in the cultural and social context. Cante is a fundamental aspect of social life throughout Alentejano communities, permeating social gatherings in both public and private spaces. Transmission occurs principally at choral group rehearsals between older and younger members. For its practitioners and aficionados, cante embodies a strong sense of identity and belonging. It also reinforces dialogue between different generations, genders and individuals from different backgrounds, thereby contributing to social cohesion."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage


Cante Alentejano. Thanks to Marco of Austria for mailing from Lagos, Portugal.

Belgium - France - Processional Giants and Dragons

"Traditional processions of huge effigies of giants, animals or dragons encompass an original ensemble of festive popular manifestations and ritual representations. These effigies first appeared in urban religious processions at the end of the fourteenth century in many European towns and continue to serve as emblems of identity for certain Belgian (Ath, Brussels, Dendermonde, Mechelen and Mons) and French towns (Cassel, Douai, Pézenas and Tarascon), where they remain living traditions. The giants and dragons are large-scale models measuring up to nine metres in height and weighing as much as 350 kilos. They represent mythical heroes or animals, contemporary local figures, historical, biblical or legendary characters or trades. St. George fighting the dragon is staged in Mons; Bayard, the horse from the Charlemagne legend, parades in Dendermonde; and Reuze Papa and Reuze Maman, popular family characters, parade at Cassel. The performances, often mixing secular procession and religious ceremony, vary from town to town, but always follow a precise ritual in which the giants relate to the history, legend or life of the town...." Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage


Postcard 1 - Belgium
A UNESCO Multiview of Dendermonde showing Procession of Giants and Dragons Festival. Thanks to An of Dendermonde, Belgium.







Postcard 2 - France
A black white vintage postcard of the Process in Cassel. Thanks to Veronique of France.






Postcard 3
Procession of Giants in Cassel, France. Thanks to Jean-Pierre from France for this maxicard.


Malaysia - Mak Yong theatre

"This ancient theatre form created by Malaysia’s Malay communities combines acting, vocal and instrumental music, gestures and elaborate costumes. Specific to the villages of Kelantan in northwest Malaysia, where the tradition originated, Mak Yong is performed mainly as entertainment or for ritual purposes related to healing practices. Experts believe that Mak Yong appeared well before the Islamization of the country. It was performed as a royal theatre under the direct patronage of the Kelantan Sultanate until the 1920s. Hence, the tradition was perpetuated in a rural context without forsaking the numerous refinements acquired at court, such as sophisticated costume design. A typical Mak Yong performance opens with an offering followed by dances, acting and music as well as improvised monologues and dialogues. A single story can be presented over several consecutive nights in a series of three-hour performances. In the traditional village setting, the performances are held on a temporary open stage built of wood and palm leaves. The audience sits on three sides of the stage, the fourth side being reserved for the orchestra consisting of a three-stringed spiked fiddle (rebab), a pair of doubleheaded barrel drums (gendang) and hanging knobbed gongs (tetawak). Most roles are performed by women, and the stories are based on ancient Malay folk tales peopled with royal characters, divinities and clowns. Mak Yong is also associated with rituals in which shamans attempt to heal through song, trance-dance and spirit possession. Mak Yong, which requires long years of training, has been preserved until the present largely through oral transmission. In today’s society, few young people are willing to commit to such rigorous apprenticeships. As a result, this important tradition is undergoing steady decline, as attested by reduced dramatic and musical repertories and a shortage of seasoned performers."

Source: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage


A beautiful illustration postcard of Mak Yong Theatre by Marni of Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. Thanks to Marni for sending me this awesome postcard. Mak Yong theatre is Malaysia only UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.