Milan and the Andes

A visit to the first room of the permanent exhibition "Global Milan"

Global Milan - Room II (2021) by Museum of CulturesMudec - Museum of Cultures

Milan becomes 'global'

In 1559 the Duchy of Milan became part of the Habsburg Empire. The connection with foreign countries, in particular with Spanish colonies such as those in South America, became stronger. Habits and customs of the city are changed by this contact.

Global Milan - Room I (2021) by Museum of CulturesMudec - Museum of Cultures

Manfredo Settala Collection

One of the earliest examples of global trade is the collection of the Milanese Manfredo Settala (1600-1680), one of the earliest European ethnographic collections.

Global Milan - Room I (2021) by Museum of CulturesMudec - Museum of Cultures

Not just a 'Wunderkammer'

The collection included objects from the natural world as well as man-made ones. Settala had a network of correspondents who sent him items from the Far East to South America.

Global Milan - Settala Room (2021) by Museum of CulturesMudec - Museum of Cultures

An ideally reunited collection

The objects depicted only in drawings were lost long before the collection reached the Ambrosiana, which has now partially loaned it to Mudec.  The drawings and the printed catalogue were commissioned by Settala himself, aware of the importance of his collection.

Merenda Lucini (Portrait of Lucini family after hunting) (17th century) by Lombard painterMudec - Museum of Cultures

The 'fashionable' Lucini Family

Around 1680 this Milanese family is portrayed with precious items coming from South America: corn cobs, chopped sugarloaf, and especially chocolate, served in typical coconut cups called 'chicchere'.

Merenda Lucini (Portrait of Lucini family after hunting), Lombard painter, 17th century, From the collection of: Mudec - Museum of Cultures
,
Cocunut and silver jicaras (Cups), Western Mexico, 17th century, From the collection of: Mudec - Museum of Cultures
Show lessRead more

Global Milan - Room I (2021) by Museum of CulturesMudec - Museum of Cultures

Pre-Columbian Art

A vitrine traces the rich artistic production of the pre-Columbian civilizations of South America, particularly the Andean ones.

Vase decorated with the depiction of a warrior, part of a twin set (7th-10th century) by Huari CultureMudec - Museum of Cultures

Twin Vases, Huari Culture, 7th-10th century

Many objects used in Andean ritual celebrations are couples, like those vase depicting warriors. The couple refers to a key element of Andean religiosity: the existance of an alter ego, a double,  a prerogative of whom dominated the political world and the religious world.

Global Milan - Room I (2021) by Museum of CulturesMudec - Museum of Cultures

Silver and Gold

The double-sided vitrine shows the different fates of precious metals in South America.

Crown (1st century BC-6th century AD) by Vicús Culture (?)Mudec - Museum of Cultures

Native Crafts

On the one hand we see Andean gold production, which reached a very high level of mastery before the encounter with the Spanish. 

Maltagliati (Coins) (16th-17th century) by Spanish colonialismMudec - Museum of Cultures

Colonial Exploitation

On the other side we find the 'maltagliati', silver coins destined to be remelted in Europe. The massive exploitation of mines (such as that of Potosi, Bolivia) in search of wealth destined only for Europe, destroys the environment and the local economy.

Global Milan - Room I (2021) by Museum of CulturesMudec - Museum of Cultures

A brief history of chocolate bowls

The wall that connects the first and second rooms shows a series of bowls and cups for sipping chocolate and coffee.

Globular Cup (7th-10th century) by Maya CivilizationMudec - Museum of Cultures

Globular Cup

From the oldest of Mayan origin (7th-10th century)...

Portrait of a seated man holding a cup (18th century (second quarter)) by Giuseppe NogariMudec - Museum of Cultures

Cup with Mancerina plate

...to those produced in the Middle and Far East for the European market in the 18th century.

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.
Google apps