Postcard from Oaxaca, Mexico: How many stamps does it take to mail a Beetle?

“Vocho Mufi,” 1993 Volkswagen Beetle covered with postage stamps, 1999

I know, I know. Visiting a stamp museum seems about the nerdiest, most boring thing to do, but exhibits at the Museo de Filatelia de Oaxaca are truly interesting. The museum doesn’t simply display stamps, it exhibits postage art. And there are a surprising number of imaginative artists who work in this medium, naturally including postcards sometimes.

Take the Volkswagen Beetle above. Not withstanding that all vintage Beetles are cool to begin with, weaving a complex design based on the distinctive needlework of regions of the state of Oaxaca found in the collection of Museo Textil de Oaxaca into this collage of 50,000 stamps stuck on a Bug? That’s pretty impressive and should certainly be enough postage to mail a Beetle almost anywhere.

Love the stamp-dressed girls in the photo collage below by Marcela Toboada. Then there’s hometown hero Benito Juarez depicted in stamps within a cinco centavo “stamp.”

And the setting of MUFO itself is soothing, with a courtyard focused on handsome cacti bordered by a shallow reflecting pool. It’s the 25th anniversary of the museum this year, so obviously it appeals to more than just stamp-collecting nerds.

The galleries of Instituto de Artes Graficas always have wonderful exhibits spotlighting major printmakers of Oaxaca, with works of Shinzaburo Takeda featured while we were there.

Born in Japan in 1935, Takeda began supplementing his training in Japan by studying mural painting and lithography in Mexico City. Smitten by the country, he moved to Oaxaca in 1978, where he assumed the role of chair of the art department at Benito Juarez Autonomous University of Oaxaca in 1980.

“Familia Oxaxaquena,” Shinzaburo Takeda
“Lunes del Cerro,” Shinzaburo Takeda

Okay, once again confession time: I still have a childhood stamp collection spread out over several albums. After working so hard to assemble it and spending my rather paltry allowance on what definitely did not prove a wise investment through the decades, I have been unable to part with my stamps yet. Although I don’t have enough to cover a VW Bug, someday I might get around to a combo stamp postcard project.

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