Europa: Polish poster art

Fischer 3900 | Michel 4050 | Year of issue 2003 | Republic of Poland

Coffin portrait poster for the Vanitas poster art exhibition. Europa issue.

(Polish poster art by Wiesław Wałkuski)


The stamp shows the Vanitas exhibition poster from Wiesław Wałkuski. On display is a coffin portrait used at Sarmatian funeral customs. Wiesław Wałkuski received the Grand Prix at the 15th exhibition of Polish poster art in Katowice in 1997.

Sarmatians were a coalition of Iranian nomadic tribes, which moved gradually from the Caspian plains to eastern Europe and threatened the Roman empire.

At Sarmation funerals, a coffin portrait of the deceased, painted on a copper, tin or lead plate to make it last, was attached to the head end of the coffin, where it would be easily seen by those attending the funeral services. After the service the coffin portrait was usually hung in the church.

Vanitas is Latin for vanity. Vanitas refers to a type of still life consisting of a collection of objects that symbolize the brevity of human life and the transience of earthly pleasures and achievements (e.g., a human skull, a mirror or broken pottery).


Vanitas - Portret trumienny = Vanitas - Coffin portrait.
na tle sarmackich obyczajów pogrzebowych = on the background of Sarmatian funeral customs.
Muzeum narodowe na Poznaniu ul(ica) Mariackiego 9 = National museum in Poznań Mary street 9.
Listopad 1996 - Luty 1997 = November 1996 - February 1997.

Relevant pages

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Poster art by Wiesław Wałkuski
Coffin portraits

Europa postage stamp