The March 2022 stamp of the month for me is a stamp issued by the French Polynesia Post Office for International Women’s Day. This stamp is intended to honor the Polynesian woman as the bearer and keeper of traditions in an ever-evolving society. The stamp is an example of this role. The mother – dedicated to traditional Polynesian dance – meets the daughter dedicated to classical Western dance. It is not a contrast, however, but a being intertwined and nestled together. Dance is probably the most widespread artistic and cultural activity in Tahiti. As with Western dance, the physical technique requires years of learning. Many women have made it their business to pass on to their children the flavor of the ‘ori tahiti, the foundations of which come from their hīro’a tumu (heritage). Not, however, without also reaching out to the new.
The ʻori tahitiʻ is a traditional dance from Tahiti characterized by rapid hip-swinging movement to percussion accompaniment. It existed in pre-European times. Originally a male-only dance, it is now danced by both sexes. In the dance the everyday occupations of life are reenacted. For the men, it is often scenes from warfare or seafaring, and they may then use spears or paddles. For the women, the gestures tend to be in nature or in the home, such as hand gestures representing the flight of a butterfly or bird, or combing one’s hair. In a real ʻōteʻa story of the subject should permeate the entire dance. Costumes are extremely elaborate, usually include long skirts made of plant fibers (“grass”), belts with tassels that emphasize hip movement. Headpieces may also be used.
Stamp of the month:
- Issued on: 2022-03-08
- Size:30 x 40 mm
- Designers:Tabatha Houguenague (P)
- Printing:Offset lithography
- Face value:130 F – CFP franc
- Print run:70,000