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CZECH SOKOL SLET POSTCARDS

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Posted 2 years ago

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Alfredo
(527 items)

MY INTEREST IN SOKOL SLET POSTCARDS STEMS FROM MY NEVER-ENDING CURIOSITY IN CZECHOSLOVAKIAN HISTORY, CULTURE AND ARTISTIC EXPRESSIONS.

SOKOL IS CZECH FOR FALCON, AND SLET LITERALLY MEANS FLOCKING , BUT IN THIS CONTEXT REFERS TO THE MASSIVE GYMNASTIC EVENTS SPONSORED BY THE SOKOL MOVEMENT, WHICH BEGAN AS A NATIONALIST MOVEMENT IN PRAGUE IN 1862 AND SPREAD AS A PANSLAVIC MOVEMENT, REACHING ITS PEAK JUST BEFORE WWII. THE FIRST SLET WAS HELD IN 1882; BY 1938, BEFORE BEING BRUTALLY SUPPRESSED BY THE NAZIS, 350,000 SOKOLS PARTICIPATED IN WHAT WAS TO BE THE LAST SLET UNTIL 1948, AFTER WHICH IT WAS THE COMMUNISTS' TURN TO SUPPRESS THE MOVEMENT.

LUCKILY, THE INSTITUTION HAS NOT ONLY SURVIVED, IT CONTINUES TO THRIVE WHEREVER THERE IS A CZECH POPULATION, ALREADY IN 1865 SOKOL GROUPS HAD SPROUTED IN AMERICA.

1: SOKOL SLET 1912. NOTICE THE DECIDEDLY NATIONALIST THEME. A MALE HOLDS THE SOKOL BANNER: A RED FLAG WITH A SWOOPING FALCON. THIS WAS THE FIRST "ALL-SLAVIC" SLET.

2. 1920 VII SLET: "MARATHON", CREATED BY J. KOCL. BY THE WAY, THE COLORS--RED, WHITE AND BLUE--REPRESENT THE CZECH NATIONAL FLAG.

3: IX SLET, 1932. IT CELEBRATES THE 1832 BIRTHDAY OF ITS FOUNDER MIROSLAV TYRSE, AND ONCE MORE, IT STRESSES CZECH SLAVISM.

4: XI SLET, 1948 SLET. NOTICE THE ABRUPT CHANGE FROM A REALISTIC, SENSUAL STYLE CELEBRATING THE MALE BODY TO A RATHER ABSTRACT CONCEPTION OF IT. AS IT WAS, IT MARKED THE END OF SOKOL AND SLETS UNTIL THE 1990'S. SIGNIFICANTLY, THESE CARDS PROVIDE NO INFORMATION AS TO PRINTER OR DESIGNER.

THEY ARE ALL 5.5" LONG AND 3.5" WIDE. MY IDEA IS TO PLACE SEVERAL IN A FLOATING FRAME, RIGHT NEXT TO MY LEYENDECKERS.

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