Romanian Folk Costume on Stamps

Many countries take pride in the heritage of their traditional folk costumes, detailing at various degrees of individuality the differnet local flavors and epochs of the making of the traditional costume. Romania is no exception to this rule, its vividly colored and intricately woven traditional clothes being given voice on stamps on various occasions. Some regional varieties find themselves also on stamps of other countries as well – Moldova is one such example, due to the common heritage, but also Poland and Thailand rendered homage to Romanian traditional folk costumes in joint issues with Romania.

I excluded from the article examples of stamps in which the focus falls on something different than attire – the stamps featuring traditional folk costume but dedicated to traditions, dances, historical scenes, etc. – these deserving their own articles. I concentrated on the ones which showcase the varieties of local folk costume from traditional Romanian regions.


Romania

Let’s start with this early example of Romanian folk costume on stamps, issued in 1936.

Issued to celebrate the 6th anniversary of King Charles II’s accession to throne, it features stamps showing traditional attire from Oltenia, Banat, Săliște, Hațeg, Gorj, Neamț, and Bucovina. The majority concentrates on women’s traditional clothes, but there are two examples of men’s traditional clothing.


Issued in 1958, this set features 12 stamps, in 6 pairs of male/female attire from 6 different regions (Oltenia, Țara Oașului, Sibiu, Valahia, Banat and Moldova). Each pair is connected by a middle vignette. An imperforated set of the same was also issued during the same year.


10 years later, in 1968, a new set of 3 female/male pairs donning traditional attire is issued. 3 additional such pairs will be released in the following year, 1969. The 1968 set features attire from Neamț, Hunedoara and Brașov.


Similar in design to the 1968 series, the stamps issued in 1969 feature traditional clothing from Dolj, Argeș and Timișoara.


Using the same recipe of the male/female pairs, 2 new sets are issued in 1973 and 1979. I like their vivid colors and their schematic drawings, as they highlight the intricate designs of the attire. Each of the characters is accompanied by a traditional artefact (vessels, bags, canteens, ceramic plates or sculpted pillars). The 1973 set pictures traditional dress from Suceava, Harghita and Gorj regions. Please note that in order to show the details of the Gorj attire vest, the man is pictured in a back view.


The same design is used in the 1979 issue, which features again 3 pairs showing attire from Maramureș, Vrancea, and Pădureni.


Beautiful, colorful diptychs showing traditional attire both for men and women is again released in 1985. This time it is attire from Muscel, Bistrița Năsăud, Vrancea and Vâlcea that is stealing the show.


Two years later, in 1987, traditional attire is again issued following a similar, but not identical design as the 1985 issue. The four diptychs show traditional men’s and women’s clothing from Târnave, Buzău, Dobrogea and Ilfov regions.



After quite some time, Romania returns to the tradition of showing the wide variety of traditional costume on stamps with this release of 2013 (pictured above the single stamp and the minisheet). Part of a joint issue with Poland (see below under Poland), the release shows a meeting of cultures in the rich costume of Bistrița Năsăud from Romania and Cracow, Poland.


One of my all-time favorite sets was issued in 2016, showing the richness of detail of traditional regional blouses, and, for a change, not using dummies to illustrate them. Instead, historical photos of known personalities are used to illustrate the design of blouses from Olt, Dolj, Argeș and Hunedoara. The vintage-like photos picture Queen Elizabeth of Romania, Queen Mary of Romania, Smaranda Brăescu, and Maria Tănase – the latter being my truly favorite of the series.


Again as a meeting of cultures, the traditional folk costume of Romania is pictured in pair with the one of Thailand, in this 2018 Romania-Thailand joint issue (for the joint release, see below under Thailand).


The traditional Romanian blouses of 8 regions are again under the spotlight in this release of 2018, featuring 4 stamps. Although they seem like pairs, please note that we are talking about only 4 stamps, as the mid perforation is incomplete and there is only one nominal value per group. The traditional blouses of Crișana, Maramureș, Bucovina, Moldova, Banat, Sibiu, Oltenia and Muntenia are shown on the stamps from this release.


An intriguing series had been announced for 2020 showing traditional, regional wedding attire, and it proved to be quite a disappointment when it was released. To begin with, it is printed in quite bad quality (most of the stamps have white spots), and then the same pair of real-life anonymous people is used to illustrate the diversity of attire, which makes the series quite lacking in authenticity. To make it worse, I don’t know if it’s just my impression or it really is like that, it seems the clothing was photoshopped over them, not quite fitting, and giving it overall a bleah effect! Too bad, the clothing pictured from Maramureș, Moldova, Banat and Valahia for sure deserved more attention.


Moldova

Traditional artefacts are pictured in this release of 1996 from Moldova, including a traditional blouse.


In 2012, with this 3 stamp series, Moldova goes very specific about traditional attire from Bucovina showing two examples of intricate traditional headpieces for women, and one traditional straw hat for men. Please also note the richness of detail pictured on the blouses.


Traditional blouses again are featured on stamps from Moldova in this release from 2015. These examples of early 20th century attire are housed in the National Museum of Ethnography and History in Chișinău.


Poland

Pictured above, the Polish Post release of 2013 issued jointly with Romania, showing traditional costume from Bistrița-Năsăud region in Romania and Cracow, Poland.


Thailand

Pictured above, the 2018 release of Thailand from the joint issue with Romania.


If you enjoyed this article, feel free to subscribe to Philately.Lately. Fresh articles about philately in your inbox, at the frequency you desire (instant/daily/weekly digest).

Stamps featured in post: 78; Period: modern and contemporary (1936-2020); Pricing: low and moderate;  Michel Catalog no’s and prices: Romania Mi509-515 – 20EUR; Mi1430-1434 – 35EUR; Mi1738-1749 – 15EUR; Mi2732-2737 – 5.5EUR; Mi2739-2744 – 5.5EUR; Mi3110-3115 – 4.8EUR; Mi3658–3663 – 2.4EUR; Mi4185-4192 – 5EUR; Mi4398-4405 – 6EUR; Mi6744EUR; Mi7087-7090 – 19EUR; Mi7385-7386 – 2.2EUR; Mi7400-7403 – 18EUR; for the 2020 issues no Michel Catalog no. given at the time of writing the article; Moldova Mi544-547 – 6EUR; Mi789-791 – 3EUR; Mi911-912 – 7EUR; Poland Mi4631 – 4EUR; Thailand Mi3706-3707 – 1EUR Availability: not readily available.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.