Literature Archive


This research explores the visual representation of animals in postage stamps issued in North Borneo, Sarawak, British Malaya and Malaysia from the 19th to the 20th century. Since postage stamps were an official product of the State, this research exemplifies the postage stamp as a part of the visual culture that facilitates different State narratives and reveals their contribution towards the formation of colonial or national identities. Furthermore, the study explores visual art from a sociocultural perspective, intending to augment its value as a piece of historical evidence. It shows the visual representations of postage stamps as a record of the civilising process by examining the changes in animal representation as it shifts from a kaleidoscope of exotic romanticism towards the righteous pride of animal protection in
the postcolonial era. More than hundreds of thematic animal stamps that were issued in Malaysia were examined in order to identify the preferences influencing animal selection in both colonial and postcolonial era. Following that, background studies, theoretical analysis and visual methodologies form the main research approaches. This paper addresses the research gap that State narratives are disputable without any visual cultural element or ideological construct.

18-05-1996 – Birds of Prey / Burung Pemangsa

Vultures, Ospreys, Eagles, Hawks, Kites, Harriers, Bazas and Falconets belong to a group of carnivorous birds known as raptors. Some of the distinctive identifying features of a raptor are a hooked beak, hooded eyes, a flattish head and terrifying speed. In general, the colors of birds of prey are subdued. Though lacking in brightly colored plumage, many raptors are extremely attractive.Captors are well represented in Malaysia by over 30 species. They are found in deep forests, in open country and along the seashores. They exist in small numbers which makes conservation of these birds vital.
Birds of Prey of Malaysia_20c_bBirds of Prey of Malaysia_30cBirds of Prey of Malaysia_50cBirds of Prey of Malaysia_RM1









Haliastur indus (Brahminy Kite/Lang Merah)
This beautiful chestnut and white bird is mainly a coastal bird, usually nesting in mangrove swamps. It eats fish and insects and also scavenges at piers and jetties near fishing villages.

Spilornis cheela (Crested Serpent Eagle/Lang Berjambul)
This is the most common raptor seen in Malaysian rainforests. It utters a shrill and far carrying call while flying high in the air. It has a short prominent crest of black and white feathers at the back of its head. It eats snakes, rodents and small birds.

Haliaeetus leucogaster (White-bellied Sea Eagle/Lang Laut)
This grey and white bird is one of the largest local raptors. A familiar sight all around the coasts and on the off-shore islands it is most often seen soaring in circles at great heights or perched on fishing stakes at sea. Known among the local fishermen as lang siput due to its fondness for snail, its other food consist of fish, crab and sea snakes.

Spizaetus cirrhatus (Changable Hawk-Eagle/Lang Hindex)
This often seen inland bird of prey has two distinct color phases. The whole plumage is dusky-brown in dark phase and lighter brown with variations in the lighter phase. It spends much of the day soaring high in the sky. It feeds on great variety of animals and birds.

Date of Issue: 18.05.1996
20c, 30c, 50c, RM1, MS RM2, Presentation Pack
(a set of stamps on birds of prey was issued on May 18, 1996. Perforations 13.5 and 14.5 x 14 were recorded for all the four denominations (20 sen, 30 sen, 50 sen and RM1)

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