July 10, 2013

0730 CHINA (Anhui) - A fisherman in Water Regions


As you can see, on this postcard is written only "Scenery of Water Regions". At the beginning I thought that Water Regions isn't a particular region of China, but a generic term that refers to the areas located near waters (in this case, in eastern China). To some extent I was right, even if this postcard captures a picture from the southern of the province Anhui, where are located the ancient villages Xidi and Hongcun, designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Of course that the specific conditions of these areas have imposed a certain way of life, with all that it involves, from diet and clothing, to prevailing trades, traditions and, why not, beliefs. The man in the picture is a fisherman, and the two fish traps hanging from the stick backed by his shoulders confirm this without any doubt.

Regarding the clothes, fisherman wears on the shoulders an coir raincoat (known also as "straw raincoat"), whose attestation dates back since the Zhou Dynasty (c. 1046-256 BC). The earliest raincoats were mainly made of the Eulaliopsis binata, a species of Gramineae which is smooth on the surface and hollow in the body. With the advancement of the time, people have discovered many other materials that can be used to make raincoats (the sedge, silk treated with tung oil, burlap, coir hair, palm fiber, pipal tree leaves etc), but however the coir raincoat was never abandoned completely, being use especially among farmers and fishermen. On the head, the man wears a large bamboo hat, which protects him from rain and scorching sun. Probably this traditional hat is even more older than the raincoat.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of a series issued in January 26, 2013, and dedicated to the Year of the Snake. The four stamps use different types of traditional Chinese arts and crafts to signify this theme:
• Paper-cutting ($1.40)
• Chinese painting ($2.40)
• Seal carving ($3) - it's on this postcard
• Jade carving ($5)

References
Wind Coat and Raincoat in Ancinet China - Cultural China
The History of Raincoats of Ancient China, by Marry Bai - China Guide
Year of the Snake, Hongkong stamps - Philately News

Sender: Kun Hu (direct swap)
Sent from Honk Kong, on 10.06.2013

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