Bhutan, a Himalayan kingdom between India and China, was principally closed to the world until the 1960's. In 1962, the country began to fund its economic development by issuing postage stamps, which were innovative firsts in the world of philately. Bhutan is responsible for the world's first silk stamps, steel stamps, holographic stamps, sculptural stamps, scented stamps, even the worlds first "talking stamp"- a small, vinyl phonograph record player that played the country's national anthem, other songs, and an oral account of Bhutan's history. More recently, in 2008, Bhutan also issued the world's first CD-ROM stamp with web portal. Another world's first, also issued in 2008, was the Exchange of Gratitude Color- Your- Own postcard stamp. This makes a total of nine world's firsts in philately in nearly 50 years for the country of Bhutan.
For Centuries, archery has been the national sport of Bhutan. A drawing of the Bhutanese archer was the subject of a postage stamp issued in the 1960's, and again in 2008 when the Bhutanese archery team went to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Bhutan issued four stamps for the occasion.
One stamp features the phoenix, and another stamp features the dragon. Both are legendary beasts from Bhutanese folklore protecting the tools of the archer: bow, arrow and target. The third stamp features an archer taking aim at a target, while the fourth stamp features an archer dancing after a teammate successfully hitting his target. Archers take aim at a target 120 yards away, or the length of a USA football field.
The stamp backgrounds depict colorful cloth in patterns from "kira" or traditional outfits worn by the Bhutanese women who cheer the archers on.
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