The very latest Arabian Nights stamp to be added to my collection is from the Ascension Island. Ordered directly from the Ascension Island Post Office & Philatelic Bureau it arrived a few days ago. (Hopefully the Ascension Island mail delivery is speedier as it was a couple of months ago that I had ordered the FDC.) The stamp in question is an unusual depiction of Aladdin with his princess riding a flying carpet. It has been quite a while since I have read the full story (i.e. not a children’s version) of Aladdin, but I do not remember there being a flying carpet in it. That being said, the flying carpet is a typical expression of western perception of Oriental magic and mystery. This stamp was issued 16 November, 2011 and is the most recent Arabian Night’s theme stamp that I am aware of.
This stamp is part of a four stamp series which does not celebrate the Arabian Nights but rather celebrates the history of Christmas pantomimes. I have never seen a pantomime but they appear to be a British Christmas tradition, dating back the 17th century. The other stamps in the series depict Mother Goose, Jack and the Beanstalk and Cinderella. According to the information included with the FDC an Aladdin pantomime was first performed at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden in 1788. It has remained a popular pantomime subject ever since. The UK has also issued some commemorative pantomime stamps. More on them later.
Ascension Island is a small volcanic island located in the south Atlantic ocean. It is part of the British overseas territory, which includes Saint Helena and Tristan da Cunha. The population of the island is around 880 people, mostly composed of persons from St. Helena with a handful of British citizens and a few other in the mix. There are no permanent residents on the island and written permission from the Administrator is required to enter the Island. Both the US and the Royal Air Force maintain a military presence on the island. According to Wikipedia, Ascension Island postage stamps are an important export item. Glad to know that I have supported the economy of Ascension Island.