Stamps of the Arabian Nights, Part 15

Iraq Flying Carpet

Iraq Flying Carpet

The flying carpet is the quintessential symbol of the fantasy of Arabian Nights in the Western imagination.  And yet, it is not a motif that is prevalent in the actual text of The Arabian Nights.  The flying carpet first appears in Galland’s final volume, vol. 12 in the story “Histoire du prince Ahmed et de la fee Pari-Banou” (The Story of Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Pari Banon), published posthumously in 1717 (in English probably by the 1720’s).


Iraq Flying Carpet

Iraq Flying Carpet

These stamps from Iraq appeared in 1966.  As they are associated with The Arab International Tourist Union, one can’t help wondering if they had more to do with exploiting the western ideas of the magical and mysterious East, and encouraging visits to that mythical place than with celebrating the Arabian Nights texts.

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2 Responses to Stamps of the Arabian Nights, Part 15

  1. Sara Barker says:


    I am a theatre artist in Washington, DC and am producing a staged reading (around a fire ring) of the play adaptation of One Thousand and One Nights by Hanan al-Shaykh and Tim Supple​. The reading is the first step on my theatre company’s path to (hopefully) producing a full production (I am currently running a Kickstarter campaign to get us started:

    I am writing you to request permission to use the images of the Ras Al Khaimah stamps from your blog in our marketing for the reading. I found them, attributed to you, in a posting on Mr. Lundell’s blog:

    Please note that the reading is free to the public.

    Thank you for you time and for your great blog!

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