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They are back! The people from the tales and legends are coming again to the world of philately. After four figures appeared in the "1998 Indonesian Folktales" series namely Malinkundang, Sangkuriang, Roro Jonggrang, and Tengger (Roro Anteng and Joko Tengger), now the same series is presenting four other tales: Lake Toba of North Sumatra, Banjarmasin of South Kalimantan, Buleleng of Bali, and Woiram of Irian Jaya.

How did these tales come to appear on the stamps? On the following page you can follow the story behind the stamp which you may now be holding.

The preparation of the issuance of "Indonesian Folkales" began with the election of the provinces. Because the first series (1998) was dominated by the folktales from Java, this time all the stories come from outside Java. They ar North Sumatra, South Kalimantan, Bali, and Irian Jaya. After the four provinces had been choosen, the next step came to the surface : which tale or legend of respective province had to be picked up? Each province had many of that kind and each story was interesting to be featured on stamps.

After a series of literary study and some considerations, the team who was responsible for the stamps choose two legends about kingdom (Banjarmasin and Buleleng) and two stories about common people which end with disaster (Lake Toba and Woiram). All four have the place regarded as the remaining sites of the stories.

Since the stories had been choosen, the team of Qomik Nasional Studio began to make fragments of them. Each episode of the stories would be made a stamp. Therfore all the stories which originally were quite long, had to be abridged into five episodes, as the number of stamps of each story would be. Indeed, it was not an easy thing to do.

Based on given scenario, the team make a story board for each story. These story boards then became the guide in designing. Until this step, data searching was still being done, especially to gain information on the characters, figures, anatomy, dress and accessories, ornaments on the building and property, and the setting of the place where the stories took place. It was a complicated job, yet captivating.

With all those data in hand, the team developed the work into a rough design, a black pencil artwork on white paper. Naturally, not all the designs were made in one time drawing. Sometimes they had to be corrected, improved, or even replaced by a new drawing in order to achieve th best result.

After pencil drawing was done, the work was copied to transparent paper using black ink.

Until this phase, all the drawings were still in black and white. The coloration was not made until they were scanned and became a computer file. Only the designers put colors on the design. All was done in the computer. Once the design was final, computer file was given to Perum Peruri, the National Security Printing in Jakarta (the designers were in Bandung). When the print-proof was satisfying, the stamps of "Lake Toba", "Banjarmasin", "Buleleng", and "Woiram" were then printed and distributed to all over Indonesia and overseas.

Are they in your album now ?

Of the four folktales feaured on the series, the panorama of Lake Toba in North Sumatra is oted to appear on the souvenir sheet completing the series.


This folktales from North Sumatra is about a man who lived in a valley after spending his life wandering. He lived from fishing in the river that ran through the valley and hunting in the surrounding forests. One day he got a very big yellow fish from the river and took it home. Surprisingly, the fish turned to be a beautiful woman. As can be predicted, he proposed her and she accepted on condition that he would never unveil her true identity.

They got married and had a son named Sam. Sam grew up to be a diligent boy. Everyday he brought meal to the field for his father's lunch. However, one day, on the way to the field, he was tempted to taste the meal. It was delicious. Without being aware, he ate the meal little by little until it ran out. Finding the meal box empty, his father was furious. Overloaded with anger, he hit his son in the head and offended him by revealing the real identity of his mother. Sam went home crying, telling his mother what had happened. The promise had been broken.

Broken hearted, she took her son to the edge of the river. She jumped into it and turned into her origin: a fish. Sam was left standing on a stone, surrounded by thunder, lightning and heavy rain. Avoiding the flood, he ran through the hill. The whole valley was flooded and turned into a lake by leaving a small island, which is the hill to where Sam ran. The lake is now known as Lake Toba and the island is called Samosir, meaning the expelled Sam.



  • Design :
    • Pura Besakih
    • Pura Taman Ayun
  • Date of issue : 01 July 1998
  • Quantity : 1,000,000 sets
  • Paper : white unwatermarked
  • Gum : PVA
  • Printing process : combination of offset and Rotogravure
  • Size : 63,92 x 24,00 mm & 31,96 x 24,00
  • Perforation : 13,50 x 13,50.
  • Sheet composition : 16 (4x4)
  • FDC + Stamps
    • Quantity : 20,000 pcs
  • FDC + S/S
    • Quantity : 15,000 pcs
  • Design : Pura Besakih
  • Quantity : 200,000 pcs