Stamps have a timeless power to raise awareness, and stir human hearts, with their exquisite messages of peace. On 7 November, the French National Post Office released two new UNESCO stamps.
One stamp calls attention to the endangered red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis), and the need to protect this species. In Japan, the crane, known as the “tancho,” is a powerful national symbol, representing longetivity and immortality.
The second stamp features the Ancient City of Sigiriya (Sri Lanka), a UNESCO World Heritage site, where one can wind through ancient galleries and staircases, and out through the mouth of a gigantic lion. The 'Lion Mountain' is a unique witness to the civilization of Ceylon during the years of the reign of Kassapa I. Its frescoes inaugurated a pictorial style which endured over many centuries. Poems inscribed on the rock, known as 'Sigiri graffiti,' are among the most ancient texts in the Sinhalese language. They attest to the considerable influence that Sigiriya exerted on both literature and thought.
UNESCO-related stamps have been produced by France since 1960. Every year, almost 1 million of them are printed. Many feature an impressive and diverse list of cultural sites, while a number depict protected species around the world, ensuring that a wide audience is sensitized to protection issues involving heritage and biodiversity.