New Zealand is home to some truly beautiful stained-glass windows, which add character and charm to churches and buildings throughout the country. These real masterpieces of art appeared on a new Christmas 2015 stamps that feature five vibrant stained-glass windows, ranging in design from the traditional to the contemporary.
StampNews.com invites our readers to feel the Christmas atmosphere with these festive stamps. Let's celebrate Christmas right now!
Stained-glass windows date back to ancient times, with some existing in Britain possibly as early as the 7th century. The movement gained popularity in the Middle Ages as a way to convey narratives from the Bible to the masses, and has evolved over time to incorporate more color and detail.
The colorful stamps in this issue feature Christmas-related imagery from stained-glass windows around New Zealand, ranging from central characters from the nativity story to the 'New Zealand Christmas tree', the pōhutukawa.
80c - Angel
This stained-glass depiction of an angel is part of the Kelvin and Janice Loveday commemorative window in St Mark's Church, Carterton. Angels play an important role in the nativity story, with the Angel Gabriel telling Mary that she would give birth to Jesus and an angel bringing the news of Jesus's birth to the shepherds.
$1.40 - Dove
The dove is recognised as a symbol of peace as well as one of the forms of the Holy Spirit. Doves are often seen as a decoration on New Zealand Christmas trees. The dove depicted on this stamp is part of a larger stained-glass window at St Aidan's Anglican Church, Remuera, Auckland.
$2.00 - Mary and Jesus
This vibrant stained-glass window sits inside St Mary's-in-Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell, Auckland and depicts Mary with the baby Jesus. According to the nativity story Mary and Joseph were unable to find a room at the inn, and took shelter in a stable in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.
$2.50 - Pōhutukawa
Often referred to as the New Zealand Christmas tree, the native pōhutukawa is symbolic of summer and the festive season. The pöhutukawa shown on this stamp is part of a larger window in the Christchurch Hospital Nurses Memorial Chapel.
$3.00 - Wise Men
According to the nativity story, the three wise men were kings of the East who were led to where Jesus lay by an angel. There they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. This stained-glass window is one of three windows portraying the nativity story in St Benedict's Church, Auckland.