Nativity - 20 cents 1976 - Canadian stamp
- Quantity: 20 500 000
- Issue date: November3, 1976
- Printer: Ashton-Potter Limited
- Perforation: 3.5
- Scott: #699
The window depicted in this stamp is an artist's personal expression of the Nativity. Stained glass probably had its origin in the Middle East, the birthplace of glass manufacturing. The technique developed slowly because glass equalled diamonds in value and perhaps because this new art, with its sharp glass fragments and molten sand, was dangerous to work at. The main ingredient of glass is sand, which melts at temperatures above 1700°C, although a catalyst reduces the melting point to 850°C. Lime can be added to the mixture to make a harder glass. Other chemicals will colour it.
In medieval times, when the design was ready and the coloured glass had been cut, it was painted with details. The craftsmen next cooked the paint into the pieces of glass and fixed them in long, H-shaped strips of lead. Once cement or putty was rubbed into the cracks between lead and glass, the window could be hung. These techniques have changed so little since then that a medieval glazier could easily go to work in a modern shop. A knowledge of Christianity is essential for even a cursory study of stained glass, since it has been largely a western and a Christian art. Christmas has naturally been a popular topic, and an enduring symbolism has arisen to represent, in glass, the joy, the love, the giving and the wonderment which characterize the season. The figures of the Holy Family, the worshipping shepherds, and the animals of the stable have often been portrayed in stained glass and they convey the same message to contemporary humans as they did to medieval peasants.
Based on a stained glass window by Yvonne Williams
Designed by Bernard N.J. Reilander
Yvonne Williams, "Nativity", 1940
Canadian Postal Museum, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau, Quebec
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The values on this page are in Canadian dollars (CAD).