Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Red Cross

The Yugoslav Wars were a series of violent conflicts in the territory of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) that took place between 1991 and 2001. They comprised two sets of successive wars affecting all of the six former Yugoslav republics. These wars were characterized by bitter ethnic conflicts rooted in various underlying political, economic and cultural problems, as well as long-standing ethnic and religious tensions. The civil wars ended with much of the former Yugoslavia reduced to poverty, massive economic disruption and persistent instability across the territories where the worst fighting occurred. The wars were the bloodiest conflicts on European soil since the end of World War II. They were also the first conflicts since World War II to have been formally judged genocidal in character and many key individual participants were subsequently charged with war crimes.  It is estimated that approximately 500 children who were under the age of 18 on July 11 1995 were victims of Srebrenica genocide.


Photo of a child corpse on display in the visitor's center in Srebrenica

The Red Cross has been present in Yugoslavia since 1875. Although fragmented in 1991, and despite enormous challenges, the validity of the Red Cross of Yugoslavia was confirmed and recognized by the ICRC in 1993.


This Yugoslavian stamp was issued in 1961 recognizing the International Red Cross as an international humanitarian movement whose stated mission is to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for the human being, and to prevent and alleviate human suffering, without any discrimination based on nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. Tax proceeds from the stamp went to fund the Red Cross.


If you are interested in purchasing our Red Cross shirt Click Here.

The Meaning of Flowers (Japan)

Hanakotoba is the name given to the Japanese language of flowers.  In Hanakotoba, flowers are assigned hidden meanings and are used to express symbols of feelings, emotions, and messages.

Translated to English, Hana means flower
and Kotoba means word.

Japanese_stamp This stamp issued by Japan in 1991, honors the Japanese tradition of Hanakotoba.


This Honeysuckle  (Suikazura in Japanese) reflects generosity.



Language of flowers, called Floriography, has been an ancient tradition celebrated throughout the world.  Using certain flowers and flower arrangements, Floriography allowed people to send hidden messages of feelings and thoughts that could not otherwise be transferred through spoken words.  Floriography entered Japan around 1870 and Japan’s independent language of flowers, Hanakotoba, became widespread soon after.  Since the end of World War II to the present, the use and understanding of Hanakotoba in Japan has receded due to the influence of Western lifestyle and culture.

Examples of Hanakotoba:

(Japanese, English: Meaning)

cherry_blossom Sakura, Cherry Blossom:





lily Shirayuri, White Lily:





lotus Renge, Lotus:
Far From the One He Loves




For more examples or to learn more:

A Word from the Ethnicitee Team:
The Ethnicitee Team was inspired by the Meaning of Flowers Japan stamp because it had rich historical value and showed a beautiful way that people communicate amongst one another.  Through research, we found that most ancient cultures did have some type of Floriography.  However, the Japanese Hanakotoba is a separate, independent Floriography.  This is an aspect of arts, history, and culture that people of all backgrounds can celebrate through their similarities as well as their differences.

womens_1 womens_2 womens_3

The Ethnicitee Women’s Line is fashioned through soft handed inks and an assortment of special printing and foiling techniques. The palette for the Long Body Short Sleeve Crew Neck as well as our Vintage Sheer Scoop Neck is 100% combed ring spun cotton. The palette for the Baby Waffle Thermal and Thermal Hoody is a 55/45 poly/cotton blend.
If you are interested in
Ethnicitee Meaning of Flowers Japan apparel, click here!

Monday, July 28, 2008

En Guarde!!

I have always marveled at the skill and grace of Fencing.  The excitement and beauty of the duel, choreography composed of elegance and violence. The images of Zorro, Robin Hood, The Three Musketeers, as well as Obi-Wan, Luke and Darth Vader, forever crystallized my interest in this style of combat.

In the broadest possible sense, fencing is the art of armed combat involving weapons manipulated by hand, rather than shot, thrown or positioned. In contemporary common usage, "fencing" tends to refer specifically to European schools of swordsmanship and to the modern Olympic sport that has evolved out of them.
Fencing is one of the four sports which have been featured at every modern Olympic Games. Currently, three types of weapon are used in Olympic fencing:

  • Foil — a light thrusting weapon; the valid target is restricted to the torso; double touches are not allowed
  • Épée — a heavy thrusting weapon; the valid target area covers the entire body; double touches are allowed.
  • Sabre — a light cutting and thrusting weapon; the valid target area includes almost everything above the waist

The word 'fence' was originally a shortening of the Middle English ‘defens’ that came from an Italian word, 'defensio', in origin a Latin word. The first known use of defens in reference to English swordsmanship is in William Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor: 'Alas sir, I cannot fence.’ (http://www.etymonline.com/)

The image used for inspiring our Fencing Academy T-shirt is from a stamp issued in 1963 commemorating the 350th anniversary of the granting of a charter to the fencing guild of city of Ghent, Belgium. The Saint Michael’s guild of Fencing is the oldest fencing club in the World and was founded in the 1600’s. Pictured to the right of the graphic is The Belfort (13th century) of Ghent, a symbol of the power of the guilds and the city. 


Ghent, Belgium started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and became in the Middle Ages one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe. Archeological evidence reveals the presence of humans in the region of the confluence of Scheldt and Lys going back as far as the Stone Age and the Iron Age. Most historians believe that the older name for Ghent, 'Ganda' is derived from the Celtic word 'ganda' which means confluence.

Q. Who are your favorite Hollywood swashbucklers?
Q. Which weapon is your weapon of choice?
Q. Which is your favorite Movie Fencing Duel?



If you are interested in Ethnicitee Fencing Academy apparel, click here!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Unveiling the African Tribal Mask

For thousands of years, dating well before Paleolithic times, rituals and ceremonies incorporating traditional masks were and to a lesser extent still are integral parts of African life.  The gradual effects of parceled out territories to Colonial governments, the ensuing damage to traditional economies, and the displacement of huge quantities of people due to Colonialism resulted in economies and food production systems being wrecked.  In general, the vast number of Africa’s people has lost some of their tribal identity and culture, hence masking ceremonies are no longer common place in Africa.

stamp_mask For many centuries, African tribal masks played a major role in:

  • Rituals
  • Celebrations
  • Ceremonial and Tribal Initiations
  • Crop Harvesting
  • War Preparation
  • Times of Peace and Conflict

This stamp is from a set of 12 issued in Guinea in 1965.

During a mask ceremony, the mask-wearing dancer goes into a deep trance where he communicates and brings forth messages of wisdom from his ancestors. Rituals and ceremonies are always accompanied with music and dance, using traditional African musical instruments.

African_mask Masks can be worn in three different ways:

  1. as face masks, vertically covering the face
  2. as helmets, encasing the entire head
  3. as crests, resting upon the head and commonly covered by material as part of the disguise

Masks in Africa have great tribal, cultural, and traditional significance.

To begin the sculpting process, a carver offers a sacrifice to the spirit of a tree. Once the tree is felled, the sculptor leaves it for a day or two, so that the spirit of the tree can find a “new home”. Afterwards, he brings the tree to his workshop to start the process of carving the mask.  Prior to sculpting the mask, the artisan purifies himself and performs a prayer, consulting the divine forces and the spirits of his ancestors for guidance. The divine force will then be transferred to the mask during the sculpting process.

Q: “What are some similarities and differences you can recognize and celebrate between the African Mask and something you value in your culture?”



If you are interested in Ethnicitee African Tribal Mask apparel, click here!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Stamp Collecting Round-Up

stamp_collecting_round-up I wanted to alert the Ethnicitee Community to a really cool and informative site regarding the stamp world. Don Schilling is the blogmaster who is a philatelic phanatic. His blog is a wonderful source for anyone interested in learning more about these snapshots of humanity.

Something that really caught my attention was an article on the Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History. I came upon a quote from Cardinal Spellman which really resonated with me as it eloquently describes the beauty and meaning of Stamps;
"Stamps are miniature documents of human history. They are the means by which a country gives sensible expression to its hopes and needs; its beliefs and ideals. They mirror the past and presage the future. They delineate cultural attainments, industrial works, domestic, civil and social life. In a word, these vignettes give a vivid picture of the world, its occupants and their multifarious endeavors."
Francis Cardinal Spellman, c. 1950

Give Don a visit and tell him we said hello and thank you for such a terrific entry about Ethnicitee.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The “Miracle Year”

Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest physicists of all time. He played a leading role in formulating the special and general theories of relativity; moreover, he made significant contributions to quantum theory and statistical mechanics.

Israel_1 The Annus Mirabilis Papers (from Latin for 'extraordinary year') published in 1905,contributed substantially to the foundation of modern physics and changed views on space, time, and matter. The papers were commemorated in 2005 in a stamp from Israel and used to inspire this t-shirt design. The four papers published included his work on the photoelectric effect which postulates that light interacts with matter in discrete packets of energy known as quanta, his work on the random movement objects as direct evidence of molecular action which supports the atomic theory, his paper on electrodynamics of moving bodies which introduced the theory of special relativity and the paper which dealt with mass-energy equivalence which led to the equation; E = mc2, which suggests that tiny amounts of mass could be converted into enormous amounts of energy. These works clarified the essence of electromagnetic radiation and the atomic structure of material. The theories shed new light on the concepts of time and space and became the basis for modern physics.

Israel_2 Einstein had a very special relationship with the State of Israel.Chaim Weizmann a Zionist leader, President of the World Zionist Organization, and the first President of the State of Israel met Albert Einstein and the two scientists became good friends. Einstein was enlisted to help raise funds for the creation of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He also undertook to edit the university's first scientific journal. Along with Sigmund Freud, Ehad Ha'am, Judah Magnes and others, Einstein was a member of the first board of governors of the Hebrew University. Albert Einstein delivered the inaugural lecture of the Hebrew University. He began his speech in Hebrew, but continued in French, as his Hebrew was unequal to the task. Later he wrote:

 "I consider this the greatest day of my life. Hitherto I have always found something to regret in the Jewish soul, and that is the forgetfulness of its own people -- forgetfulness of its being, almost. Today I have been made happy by the sight of the Jewish people learning to recognize themselves and to make themselves recognized as a force in the world. This is a great age, the age of liberation of the Jewish soul, and it has been accomplished through the Zionist movement, so that no one in the world will be able to destroy it." (Ronald W. Clark, Einstein: The Life and Times, World Publishing (1971) pg 393)

Active in Jewish causes he was offered the Presidency of the State of Israel, but declined, “being deeply touched by the offer but not suited for the position.”

Monday, June 16, 2008

Laos - Land of a Million Elephants

Laos Located at the centre of the Mekong region, it is the only nation to share a border with all other countries in the region. Laos is bordered by Burma (Myanmar) and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, and Thailand to the west. Laos traces its history to the Kingdom of Lan Xang or Land of a Million Elephants, which existed from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century.

The Asian or Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus), sometimes known by the name of one of its subspecies – the Indian Elephant, is one of the three living species of elephant which include the African Bush Elephant and the African Forest Elephant. It is the only living species of the genus Elephas.

Laos_2 Domesticated elephants have played an important role in the socio-economic life of rural Laotians for centuries. They have used them for work, in religious and cultural ceremonies, and for carrying goods. These wonderful creatures have always been highly respected by the people and in former times the king officially assigned the elephant as the national animal. The king frequently donated elephants to neighboring countries as a sign of friendship and friendly relations and to cement political ties.

Currently there is a growing opposition and a reconsideration of the capture, confinement, and use of wild elephants. Animal rights advocates allege that elephants in zoos "suffer a life of chronic physical ailments, social deprivation, emotional starvation, and premature death". The opposing position taken by zoos is that the standards for the treatment of elephants are extremely high and that minimum requirements for such things as minimum space requirements, enclosure design, nutrition, reproduction, enrichment and veterinary care are set to ensure the wellbeing of elephants in captivity.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Life Free Of Violence

Cayman Violence against women collectively refers to violent acts that are primarily or exclusively committed against women. It cuts across cultural and religious barriers, impeding the right of women to participate fully in society. Similar to a hate crime, this type of violence targets a specific group with the victim's gender as a primary motive. The United Nations General Assembly defines "violence against women" as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life."

Cayman2 The Cayman Islands issued this stamp image in A “LIFE WITHOUT VIOLENCE: ITS OUR RIGHT" campaign launched by UNIFEM in 1997. UNIFEM is the women’s fund at the United Nations. It provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programs and strategies to foster women’s empowerment and gender equality. In coordination with other UNITED NATIONS agencies the campaign’s objective is to firmly place gender violence on the public agenda as a health and human rights issue, placing a spotlight on violence against women, probably the most pervasive human rights violation that affects as many as one in three women. We used this stamp image as inspiration for one of our ladies shirts. We thought it was so important an issue that we printed the design on our contoured short sleeve t-shirt as well as a thermal hoody to enable our customers to bring attention to this immensely important issue no matter what the season.

In 1993 the United Nations acknowledged the global dimensions of female targeted violence when the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women. This declaration noted that this violence could be perpetrated by assailants of gender, family members and even the "State" itself. Worldwide governments and organizations actively work to combat violence against women through a variety of programs. The Commission on Human Rights adopted resolution 1994/45 of 4 March 1994, in which it decided to appoint the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, including its causes and consequences. A UN resolution designated November 25th as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Violence against women continues to be a major human rights violation and progress is tied to the political will and commitment to allocate the necessary financial and human resources to address this tragedy.

For More Information;

United Nations Human Rights Commission Women and Violence
Human Rights Council Discusses Violence Against Women 6/5/08

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cave Art

Australia Imagine exploring a cave in the outback in Australia and coming upon this depiction of the Dreamtime. I thought that this was so unique and cool we used it as inspiration for one of our original t-shirt designs.

Aborigines are the indigenous inhabitants who live in mainland Australia, Tasmania and other adjacent islands. Thought to be the oldest continuously maintained cultural history on Earth (50,000 years or more), this example of Paleolithic cave art depicts the Dreamtime. The Dreamtime explains the origins and culture of the land and of its people. It presents in a number of inter-related narratives (or myths) explaining Aboriginal Australian origins and culture, and therefore has a complex relationship to the prehistory of Australia. The art produced 32,000 to 11,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age is known as Paleolithic Art. The Dreamtime is the central, unifying theme in Australian Aboriginal mythology. The condition that is Dreamtime is met when the tribal members live according to tribal rules and traditions and are initiated through rituals and the hearing of tribal myths.

The Dreamtime, also called the Dreaming, consists of four aspects: The beginning of all things; the life and influence of the ancestors; the way of life and death; and sources of power in life. Dreamtime consists of all four of these aspects at the same time because it is a condition beyond time and space where all things exist at once. There is an image in the lower central portion of the cave art. The image is found in many cave paintings in Australia. What do you think it is? Remember, the artwork is somewhere between ten and thirty thousand years old.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Youth Against Colonialism

Colonialism is the extension of a nation's sovereignty over territory beyond its borders by the establishment of either settler colonies or administrative dependencies in which indigenous populations are directly ruled or displaced.

USSR I was moved by both the meaning and the irony of this stamp depiction and therefore chose it for one of our t-shirt designs. The Soviet Union has been a poster child for colonialism. Yet, this stamp issued in 1962 pictures the youth of three races and the broken chains of colonial oppression. It commemorates the International Day of Solidarity of Youth Against Colonialism.

Moscow considered Eastern Europe to be a buffer zone for the forward defense of its western borders and ensured its control of the region by transforming the East European countries into satellite states. Soviet troops intervened in the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and cited the Brezhnev Doctrine, the Soviet counterpart to the U.S. Johnson Doctrine and later Nixon Doctrine, and helped oust the Czechoslovak government in 1968, sometimes referred to as the USSR_back Prague Spring. To further its influence, the Soviet Union concluded friendship and cooperation treaties with a number of states in the non-Communist world, especially among Third World and Non-Aligned Movement states like India and Egypt. Moscow advanced state interests by gaining military footholds in strategically important areas throughout the Third World. The Soviet Union provided military aid for revolutionary movements in the Third World. For all these reasons, Soviet foreign policy was of major importance to the non-Communist world and helped determine the tenor of international relations.

Russia continues to exert influence as seen currently in the Middle East. Playing an active political, economic, military, and cultural role in the Middle East, the Russia has sought to undermine Western power there, with a view both to reducing the strategic threat to the U.S.S.R. from Iran, Turkey, and the Mediterranean and to increasing Soviet influence in world councils. Currently Russia attempts to balance a strategy of endorsing watered-down UN resolutions while deepening its relations with Iran in its continued efforts to project influence in the region.