Indians of Aruba – new stamp issue released

August 22nd, 2015 is glad to inform that Aruba Post has introduced its new issue honoring the Indians of Aruba and their art. The issue consists of four items that depict geometric patterns (petrographs) peculiar to Indian culture.

Some of the only remainders of Aruba's native past are to be found in the form of surviving petrographs (rock drawings or rock paintings) and petroglyphs (carved or incised glyphs).

The petrographs were created by the migrating Caquetio natives from the Venezuelan mainland, and it is believed that the drawings were made by Caquetio groups living on Aruba or those migrating further north into the Caribbean archipelago.

It is estimated that the Aruba rock drawings are about one thousand years old. Aruba holds a special place in the study of Caribbean petrographs because of the fact that, given the relatively very small size of the island, a great quantity of petrographs are found all over the island, with a higher concentration in the caves along the northern coast. Also Aruba stands out because of the fact that three color of petro-graphs can be found: White, red and dark brown.

Often these types of designs and colors overlap each other, as if the early Caquetios ran out of space and created new drawings over the existing ones. This probably implies that the specific place of the drawings held an important meaning for the first inhabitants of these southern Caribbean islands.

Also, it seems that quite a few groups of specific designs can be distinguished all over the island. These groups consist of abstract forms, stylized figures, natural figures such as human and animal forms, and geometric shapes.

All of these were created with natural, highly durable and sustainable materials, applied with fingers or short brushes, and either in cave entrances, large cave openings, or in the hollow parts of Aruba's huge diorite boulders.

The designs represented in this stamp series all originate from the Fontein Cave, a well-known large limestone cave that used to be submerged and now stands at a half kilometer inland on the northern coast. The different design forms show the great variety of visually strong designs that form the Fontein Cave collection, most of which have been drawn on the relatively flat ceilings of the cave.

It is not known exactly for which purpose these drawings were created, nor is it known with certitude what meaning lies hidden in each of these drawings. This knowledge seems to be forever lost to the present generations. We can only guess as to their true symbolic meaning and function, or interpret the drawings according to our own modern-day perspective and experiences.

Tags: #Aruba