Oct 27, 2016

Permanence and Change

Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares de Sevilla

A walk through the Museum of Arts and Traditions of Sevilla (MACPSE)

Enter the MACPSE
Take a tour of its halls and discover what is inside.

The building that houses the museum was constructed by the architect Aníbal González as part of the design of the Plaza de América for the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929.

It was called the Pavilion of Industries, Manufacturing, and Decorative Arts, then the Pavilion of Ancient Art and Artistic Industries, and later, the Mudéjar Pavilion.

Museum of Arts and Traditions of Sevilla was established in 1972 and opened to the public in 1973. The building has four floors over an area of around 8,000 square meters, split between public exhibits and internal services (conservation, restoration, research, promotion, and administration).

The Díaz Velázquez Legacy
Two generations who succeeded in creating the collection of embroidery and lace that the museum now holds.

The permanent exhibition space on the main floor is dedicated entirely to the Díaz Velázquez collection.

Rooms I and II contain a selection (approximately 10%) of the most representative pieces of the Díaz Velázquez collection of embroidery and lace, which is one of the most complete of its kind in Europe.

These rooms offer a panorama of the different techniques and uses of lace embroidery, including bed and table linen, women's underwear, children's clothes, and liturgical vestments.

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
Inhabited Spaces and Domestic Items

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.

The definition of the concepts "house" and "home" point to the importance of fire as a binding element in family life. The room with the fire is used to cook and eat, rest or sleep, chat and receive visitors, and just be in.

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.

Ethnographic museums are providing more space for domestic possessions that have fallen into disuse, in order to invite reflection on those transformations, and to make us think about their meaning and what may lie hidden behind them.

Traditional Occupations
The Survival of Crafts

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.

World of Clay

The next rooms are dedicated to the history and uses of ceramics in Andalusia from the 13th century until the present day. They center on the production of traditional tiles, historic and popular ceramics and, finally, in industrial earthenware in the La Cartuja factory in Seville.

Most of the collection originated in Andalusia and reproduces the typical motifs, colors and iconography of the region, although a few pieces are displayed from other centers of production in Spain that influenced local production.

Pottery is one of the main transformative skills and activities that has most characterized societies since pre-historic times, both in terms of the production procedures and types of goods.

The selection of domestic pottery displayed in this room comes from Andalusian potteries and is arranged according to the different functions it served in daily life which, until recently, were very varied.

Here we find containers for liquids, cooking implements and storage jars for the pantry, as well as feeding troughs and places to keep animals.

Charles Pickman founded the earthenware factory that bears his name in 1841. It saw major expansion during the second half of the 19th century when it consolidated its reputation in the national and international markets, particularly when its volume and variety of production were at their height.

Crockery is the most recognized product from La Cartuja and has been made continuously throughout its history.

Another type of production is aimed at trade and industry, and is distinctly functional with minimal decoration. Examples are trays, jars, electrical insulators, and lancets for hospitals.

La Cartuja's artistic production includes pieces to adorn gardens and public spaces, as well as artistic pieces. It is characterized by a limited production run, higher manufacturing costs, and considerable size, given its ornamental function.

An Amalgam of Technology and Craftsmanship

A good example of the development of techniques for transforming metals is their use in the production of weapons for providing food, as well as in war and for self-defense.

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.

Transformation Techniques

Chests and locks, branding irons, bells for livestock, and candlesticks all feature in a metalworker's workshop.

We finish with the last room on this floor, which is dedicated to the documentation of traditional systems of weighing and measuring dry goods and liquids...

...which, despite the widespread use of the metric system, are still valid in the traditional agricultural world.

Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares de Sevilla
Credits: Story

Permanence and Change

Organized by
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

Museum of Arts and Traditions of Sevilla

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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