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Portugal:The word and the Image Stamp Set

The two words that embody this idea are astounding: Word and Image. For the societies that have inherited age-old Mediterranean cultures, the concept of Sacred Text comprises the actual idea of Religion, Theology and Piety. We talk of ”Religions of the Book” as if the book was the essence of those movements. And, in reality, it is. The scared places of each tradition are important; the founders, the prophets and the disseminators of each religion are also fundamental; but the Sacred Texts are the basis of the doctrine, the rites, the norms, the social organisation, the way of seeing and behaving in the world.At its origin, almost as ancient as Judaism, we have the Torah, the Pentateuch in the Christian Greek language, which gives shape to the actual identity of the Chosen People. More than Religion, the Scared Text was – and is – the identity of a collective that sees itself in the determinations, in the Alliances, in the ”exoduses” and in the ”exiles”. 

Also nearly as old as Christianity, the beginning of the systematisation of the Christian canon is the image of centrality inherited from Judaism, when one looks in the dynamics between texts and communities for the organisation, the systematisation of the doctrine, or even the creation of bonds and solidarity among groups.Despite being profoundly Christian and Catholic, the iconography presented here is the road to an important means of spirituality. The relationship between the Scared Text and the images is a feature that is almost ecumenical, a dimension that is greater than each of the religions or traditions, which takes shape here in the particular case of the Portuguese pictographic heritage. The ”Word through the Image” is the acknowledgement of this heritage that shapes the vast identity that is us, in the broadest and most uniform culture of Southern Europe, of the Mediterranean. 

For millennia, in this basin where civilisations intermingled, and where gods, beliefs and meanings were exchanged, the images and the words were combined over time, becoming symbiotic aspects of the same imagery, complementing the doctrine and the rites.Today, it is impossible to understand our past, and even our way of seeing the world, without experiencing the meaning of an Ecce Homo placed in the shadows of a church, illuminated only by the flickering light of a handful of candles. How much we have of fears and hopes in the gaze of millions of beings like us who contemplated, century upon century, powerful images like this one.This Word and these images are us, in our ancient and unique culture, in our anthropology and worldview. Whether we are believers or not. Whether we are ”practising” or not, our heritage has been constructed for two millennia according to this articulation between text that is deemed scared and its representations that accompanied moments of worship, of introspection, of prayer, of rejoicing or of despair. The Word and the Image are part of a genetic code that gives shape to a part of Europe, that runs in the veins of the most dilapidated and revealing bodies of the mellennium-old culture that we inherited. 

Technical DetailsIssue Date: 23.02.2012 Values:0.47, 0.68, 0.80, 1.00 Euros

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