Sunday, August 19, 2012

NORDIA 1985 philatelic exhibition

Pia sent me this wonderful FDC postmarked 15.5.1985 when Finland hosted the inter-Nordic Nordia philatelic exhibition in 1966, 1975, 1981, 1985, 1993 and 1999. 1985 marked the 125th anniversary of the first Finnish perforated stamps, and the inter-Nordic Nordia 1985 philatelic exhibition was arranged at the new Helsinki Fair Centre.
The stamp and the cover both have pictures of Havis Amanda. And was issued on 15.05.1985. Havis Amanda is a nude female statue in Helsinki, Finland. It was sculpted by Ville Vallgren (1855-1940) in 1906 in Paris, but was not erected at its present location at the Market Square in Kaartinkaupunki until 1908. She is a mermaid who stands on seaweed as she rises from the water, with four fish spouting water at her feet and surrounded by four sea lions. She is depicted leaning backwards as if to say goodbye to her element.
It was unveiled on September 20, 1908. The work drew a lot of criticism at first, especially from women. Its nakedness and seductiveness were considered inappropriate. Not all groups objected to the nudity per se, but putting it on a pedestal was thought to subjugate women by making them appear weak and create sexual objectification and belittling of women (equal and common suffrage was introduced in Finland in 1906). Some women's rights groups criticised the look of the figure as plain and some even as "a common French whore", lacking pristine and innocence. The sea lions, with their human tongues hanging out, were said to represent men lusting after the mademoiselle. Today it has been consistently voted the most important and most beautiful piece of art in Helsinki.
Every year on Vappu (1st of May), Manta serves as a centrepiece for the celebrations. Students of the local universities put a cap on the statue in an elaborate ceremony. For many it is a "must see" event.
There is also an urban legend that Havis Amanda patronizes men's sexual potency. Some men believe that washing one's face with water from one of Havis Amanda's fountains and shouting thrice "Rakastaa!" (Finnish verb "love") increases men's sexual ability. I hope the masculine gender around the world are paying heed to this. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to go there yet L.



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