When pen pals send me letters, I love to scan the stamps in and upload them to my Philately folder on Flickr. I'm fortunate in that my pen pals have chosen a unique array of stamps to share with me.
This stamp was puzzling to me because I'm no longer in touch with the person who sent it, and she probably wouldn't have known what it meant anyway. I wanted to know what the image depicted was intended to be: was it a god or a demon? Was it a character from a very popular play? Why is its face chipped on the side? That suggests to me a layer of paint, on the mundane level, but the hair and the underlit features impress me with something more supernatural.
Fortunately, a person who knew found me. A Japanese stamp collector spotted my stamp on Flickr and asked to include it in her vintage stamp group's collection. She said the image was of a Buddhist temple deity, and that the stamp itself was minted in 1971. I thanked her profusely for coming out of the blue and resolving this nagging question in my mind. Can't always rely on that, but it's nice when it happens.
I liked it so much, of course, I incorporated it into the header image of this blog. I wanted some postal images but also something a little out-of-the-ordinary, and I felt this stamp met that challenge.