Oct 27, 2016

A Journey through Time in the Province of Jaén

Museo de Jaén

Museum of Jaén. Archaeology Section. Unique works.

The museum
The museum was originally the Museo de Pinturas, or the Museum of Paintings, and was created in 1846 with funds derived from the Confiscation of Mendizábal. The Provincial Museum of Fine Arts was set up in 1914. In order to find a home for it, Jaén politician José del Prado y Palacio promoted the acquisition of 4,200 m2 of land in Paseo de la Estación. The current Museum of Jaén resulted from the merger in 1969 of the Fine Arts Museum with the Provincial Archaeological Museum, which opened to the public in 1971 in its current location. It is a state-owned entity managed by the Autonomous Community of Andalusia.
The oldest objects were found in the Paleolithic site of Puente Mocho (Beas de Segura) and belonged to the hunter-gatherers. Objects from the Neolithic Age were found in the Plato de Castillo cave in Locubin, including spoons and handmade ceramic bowls. A number of outstanding items from the Copper Age (when metal-working began) came from the Marroquíes Altos site (Jaén), most notably the Anthropomorphic Idol. Our knowledge of the Copper Age and Bronze Age in the province of Jaén has been enriched thanks to the archaeological site at Marroquíes Bajos, a large walled village, arranged in five concentric circles and consisting of ditches or canals carved out of the rock through which water was channeled. Another important site is Peñalosa in Baños de la Encina, a typical example of a Bronze Age community in the Upper Guadalquivir area, situated in the mining regions of the Sierra Morena.

Prehistoric vessel with incised decoration.

Fragment of a pot with a polished surface and incised decoration.

Terracotta spoon found in the Chatarra Cave, Castillo de Locubin.

Bronze weapon with silver rivets found in Peñalosa (Baños de la Encina).

Iberian culture
On our journey through various aspects of the Iberian world, the first rooms we will see contain a monograph of the Burial Chamber of Toya (Peal de Becerro) and a life-size model of it. Trading relations were set up with people from the Eastern Mediterranean. We have also conserved some written artifacts – a few epigraphs originating from Giribaile. The primary focus of society was on agriculture and, to a lesser extent, livestock. Ceramics, textiles, and metallurgy were also important industries. The skill of Iberian precious-metal workers can be seen from a set of rings, annular brooches, needles, earrings, and belt buckles, most of them made of bronze. The rich funerary world is represented here by grave goods from the tombs of Espeluy and Castellones de Ceal, Hinojares. Some outstanding items include gold and silver treasures and the collections of coins and votive objects. The final room contains a set of stone sculptures. People of importance demonstrated their status by decorating their tombs with animalistic or zoomorphic sculptures.

A stone urn sculpted in the shape of a wolf.

An example of the funerary pottery from the Iberian Age.

A Greek ceramic vase used in burial rituals during the Iberian Age.

A perfume flask used in burial rituals.

A stone sculpture portraying a family standing in front of a deity. This is a votive object demonstrating the nature of religious belief during the Iberian Age.

An object belonging to an Iberian warrior that was found in his tomb.

A falcata, a sword with a curved blade typical of Iberian warriors.

A votive object. A bronze figure representing the giver standing before the divinity.

Figure of an Iberian woman demonstrating that women visited shrines.

Fragments of a diadem from the Iberian era, showing us what excellent craftsmen the Iberians were.

A treasure hoard from the Ibero-Roman era including various containers, adornments, and coins.

Cerrillo Blanco, Porcuna
On display in the semi-basement rooms of the temporary exhibitions building is a series of sculptures from Cerrillo Blanco, Porcuna, including all the exhibits that have been restored. The complete collection presented in these rooms tells the mythical story of an aristocratic lineage. Beyond the introductory antechamber, the sculptures have been grouped according to their subject matter: animal metaphors, ancestors, heroic battles, and a band of warriors.

This stone portrait depicts a warrior’s face. We can observe his expression and examine his clothes and weaponry.

A group of sculptures depicting warriors belonging to the Porcuna series. This life-size work brings us a little closer to Iberian culture.

A group of sculptures forming part of what is known as the Animal Metaphor scene, introducing us to the beliefs of the Iberian community of Obulco in the 5th century BC.

A beautifully made sculpture representing the fertility and richness of ancient Obulco (Porcuna).

The Pajarillo farmhouse, Huelma
The roofed patio of the main building houses the Iberian monument known as the Heroic Sanctuary of El Pajarillo (Huelma). It recounts the moment when a hero confronted a wolf in the presence of two mythological beings. The hero was led here to defend the naked youth, seen lying down, and his intervention saved the young man from the wild beast. The original surroundings of the monument have been recreated, showing the source of the River Jandulilla which used to lie outside the walls of the building.

A warrior from the 4th century BC prepares to unsheathe his falcata to defend the young man from the threatening wolf.

Roman culture
Objects relating to Roman life and customs are on display: mosaics, glassware, stone, and metal objects, including the unguent jar of Santo Tomé, used in funeral rites, and weighing scales from El Centenillo, Baños de la Encina. Other outstanding items from the farmhouse of Robles de Marroquíes Bajos (Jaén) include the portrait of a woman and several marble figures, a piece of jet, and fragments of gold. The archaeological site of Los Villares de Andújar is well represented by numerous stamped clay shapes and the molds designed for their creation. Our introduction to Roman culture is completed with a collection of funerary urns and stelae bearing epigraphs, including the stela of Peal de Becerro.

Figure of Venus accompanied by Eros, found in a lararium dedicated to promoting fertility.

The Roman hairdresser's colleagues adorned her tomb as a tribute to her journey through life.

A bronze object from the Roman era depicting the features of a Nubian youth to be brought on the journey to the afterlife.

Two glass flasks from the Roman era, fragile objects which have defied the passage of time.

A lamp for daily use showing us the everyday life of our ancestors.

Hispano-Visigothic culture
Here we can see various objects pertaining to the Hispano-Visigothic culture which marked the beginning of the Middle Ages in our province: belt buckles, parts of harnesses for horses, jewelery, etc. Noteworthy items include the sarcophagus of Arjonilla with its geometrical decoration, the La Guardia gate, and the famous historiated lintel of Vilches.

Item worn by the deceased on their final journey as a symbol of their social status.

A bronze object that formed part of a horse’s reins.

A woman from the Visigoth era wore these jewels at the time of her burial. Viewing and studying them brings us closer to the people who made and used them.

A coin dating from the 7th century AD which brings us closer to those times and gives us an insight into how things were done.

The early Christian era
This small room is dedicated exclusively to the famous sarcophagus of Martos. Carved in marble and imported from Rome, it represents seven miraculous scenes from the life of Jesus between columned porticos, including the conversion of water into wine and the healing of the man stricken with palsy.
Hispano-Islamic culture
Various aspects of the Andalusian world are introduced to us here: the arrival of Islam and the conquest of the Iberian peninsula, economics and society, the city, its architecture and fortifications, the potter’s workshop and the techniques used to decorate ceramics, epigraphy and religion, toys and luxury goods. Many of those aspects are illustrated by significant pieces found in the soil of Jaén, including ceramic materials from the potters’ workshops in Jaén’s Plaza de la Constitución, the dinar treasures of Jimena and the dirhams of Calle Millán de Priego (Jaén), the Charilla treasure (Alcalá la Real), the jug from Calle San Vicente de Baeza, the jar from Venta del Llano in Geolit (Mengíbar), the decorative plasterwork from the Castle of Santa Catalina [Saint Catherine] (Jaén), and the cylindrical containers from Porcuna.

Jewelry from the 10th century depicting the style of that time. It was found among a hoard of hidden items, which may imply the owner's untimely demise.

A bronze lamp decorated with a small, zoomorphic carving – an everyday object found in prestigious surroundings.

A musical instrument made from a vulture’s bone (ulna).

A small ceramic jar which gives us an insight into everyday life in Al-Andalus.

The capital of a column, a fragment of the unmistakable Islamic architecture of Al-Andalus.

A coin which shows us the importance of the tax system in Al-Andalus.

Museo de Jaén
Credits: Story

A journey through time in the province of Jaén

Organised by:
Museo de Jaén
Consejería de Cultura de la Junta de Andalucía

Curated by Carmen Repullo Roldán y Francisca Hornos Mata.
Texts: Carmen Repullo Roldán y Francisca Hornos Mata.
Photography: Museo de Jaén.
Digital Edition: Carmen Repullo Roldán.

Museo de Jaén

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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