Acquired in 1960 by Georges Henri Rivière, founder of the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions (the MuCEM’s predecessor), this “suit of lights” or traje de luces, as bullfighters’ costumes are called in Spanish, supplemented the institution’s already rich collection of textiles. The uniform includes a jacket (chaquetilla), a vest (chaleco) and trousers (taleguilla) tightened at the knee with braided cords. It is combined with a fuzzy black hat (montera) with a “bulb” extending from either side. The torero uses the hat to dedicate the bull’s death to someone by tossing it to the person of his choice.
In 2004, the Mucem conducted a survey of the world of bullfighting, from Pamplona in Spain to the Landes and the Camargue in France. This resulted in the collection of 892 objects related to bullfights for the museum, including event posters, photographs, statuettes, advertising materials, scarves and t-shirts worn by spectators, the cockade and tassels decorating a bull accompanied by the hook used by the Camargue bullfighter (razeteur) to remove the bull’s ornaments, the pike poles and costume of a banderillero (the bullfighter who plants little flags – banderillas – in the bull’s body), the costume of a rejoneadora (a female bullfighter on horseback) and the stately armour placed on the horse’s back during ceremonies.