Monday, December 12, 2011

Luonnotar - Kalevala Art 26.3.2004

The Kalevala begins with a poem describing the birth of the world, based on an ancient international myth. Luonnotar was the Spirit of Nature, Mother of the Seas, who existed before creation, floating alone in the universe before the worlds were made "in a solitude of ether". Descending to earth she swam in its primordial ocean for 700 years. Then a storm blows up and in torment, she calls to the god Ukko for help. Out of the Void, a duck flies, looking for a place to nest. Luonnotar takes pity and raises her knee above the waters so the duck can nest and lay her eggs. But when the eggs hatch they emit great heat and Luonnotar flinches. The eggs are flown upwards and shatter, but the fragments become the skies, the yolk sunlight, the egg white the moon, the mottled bits the stars. This was the creation myth of the Karelians who represented the ancient soul of the Finnish cultural identity. After taking part in the creation of the world, she gives birth to the aged Väinämöinen. The Great Kalevala Featured on Gallen-Kallela March Miniature Sheet The Nordic post offices issued a new miniature stamp sheet with a Nordic mythology motif in 2004. The sheet is part of the Nordic joint stamp series entitled “The North”. The second and third part of the series were issued in 2006 and 2008. The first part was issued in all the Nordic countries simultaneously on March 26, 2004, as each postal administration issued a miniature sheet featuring mythical creatures. The Finnish miniature sheet featured a sketch by Akseli Gallen-Kallela entitled Luonnotar (1925, 66 x 44.5, watercolor). The sheet consists of two €0.65 stamps. Luonnotar was one of Gallen-Kallela’s illustrations for the Great Kalevala, a project that he began in 1925. It was never completed, however, as the artist suddenly died in 1931. Luonnotar is currently part of the permanent collection at the Gallen-Kallela museum. Pekka Piippo, who also designed the First Day Cover and Cancellation to go with the miniature sheet, designed the stamp. The First Day Cancellation features a part of Gallen-Kallela’s illustration with the same motif for the Jewel Kalevala (1920-1922). All eight miniature sheets published in the Nordic countries were to be issued together as a Nordic pack. The pack was issued along with the miniature sheet and priced at 16 euros on 26.3.2004. Thank you Pia for this fabulous FDC.

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