A walk through the Museum of Arts and Traditions of Sevilla (MACPSE)
Rooms VI and VII contain a reconstruction of the home of the family who donated the collection. The space inside a home usually gives a fairly accurate idea of the social status of the people living there, as well as their aesthetic tastes, their design and use of the space, their activities and habits, and their general way of life. The perception of the house and its furnishings is based on the typical lives of the Andalusian upper-middle class at the end of the 19th century.
The house centers around the most basic of human relations: blood ties. These ties are structured around what we call the family, whatever form that takes in each culture. Inside the house is where family members satisfy their basic needs, which are those closest to our animal instincts: hunger, sleep, sex, shelter.
From the 18th century onwards, first in the urban environment and then in the rural, the dwelling's functions and appliances began to diversify and separate. Different spaces such as the bedroom, dining room and living room appeared, whilst the furniture and cooking equipment became ever more varied.
This section of the museum displays a selection of Andalusia's most important crafts for reasons of their exclusive production, the prestige associated with the objects, their price, and the specialized knowledge of the artisan. However, there is also a place for more modest crafts, such as basket making. The skills and techniques that made it possible to transform lifeless material into an object form part of what is known as intangible heritage. Each culture has its own ways of working that are indivisible from its forms of belief, dress, feeling, and recreation.
Craftwork's main feature is not the absence of machinery, since machines were actually used, but the fact that one person performs the whole manufacturing process of an object from beginning to end. This is as opposed to specialization in just one part of the process, which characterizes industrialized production.
Another important feature of craftwork "done well" is the intended uniformity in the objects produced, because the more alike the objects an artisan made were, the better his work was thought to be. Now, artisan production attempts to do the opposite and personalize production to make it unique so as to add value.
Weapons of war, especially swords, did not just have this military purpose to which they are ultimately linked. They were also used to complement the dress of the time, which is where the concept of the "dress sword" comes from. This became a symbol of a gentleman and led to the production of a lighter, more highly decorated sword than those used in battle.
Permanence and Change
Museum of Arts and Traditions of Sevilla
Consejería de Cultura de la Junta de Andalucía
Curated by Mª del Carmen Morillo Fulgueira y Carmen García Morillo
Texts: Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares de Sevilla
Photography: Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares de Sevilla
Digital edition: Mª del Carmen Morillo Fulgueira