June 29, 2016

2641 FRANCE - The sheep as symbol

Sheep were among the first animals to be domesticated by mankind (although the domestication of dogs may be over 20,000 years earlier); the domestication date is estimated to fall between 11,000 and 9,000 B.C in  Mesopotamia. Since then they spread worldwide, and nomadic and seminomadic pastoralism was an important occupation for many people, mainly in Asia and Europe. Domestication has changed sheep so much that they are almost helpless in the wild.

Being a key animal in the history of farming, sheep have a deeply entrenched place in human culture, and find representation in much modern language and symbology. As livestock, sheep are most often associated with pastoral, Arcadian imagery. Sheep figure in many mythologies and major religions, especially the Abrahamic traditions. Christians are collectively often referred to as a flock, with Christ as the Good Shepherd, and sheep are an element in the Christian iconography of the birth of Jesus.

In many languages, to call someone a sheep or ovine may allude that they are timid and easily led. In contradiction to this image, male sheep are often used as symbols of virility and power. Citizens who accept overbearing governments have been referred to by the Portmanteau neologism of sheeple, a derogatory term that highlights the passive herd behavior of people easily controlled by a governing power which likens them to sheep, a herd animal that is easily led about.

About the stamps

The stamps are part of a serie depicting tapisteries, designed by Pierrette Lambert and issued for French Red Cross:
1994.11.28 - Arras tapestry Saint Vaast (2.80+0.60 FRF) - It's on the postcard 2641
1995.05.15 - Tapestry of Saumur (2.80+0.60 FRF) - It's on the postcard 2641

Sender: Innocent
Sent from Millonfosse (Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie / France), on 16.10.2015

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