The devil is in the detail

Zoom into and discover the incredible details of giga-pixel ethnographic drawings

By Museum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

Ethnographic drawing - yoke (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

This type of ethnographic drawing was used as a form of scientific illustration to compliment the medium of photography in the then emerging field of anthropology.

The National Museum of Ethnology posses Portugal’s largest collection of ethnographic drawings, with over 2.500 in total. The majority of these works were created by Fernando Galhano, one of the Museum’s founders and world-renowned ethnographic drawer.

Now captured in gigapixel resolution you can use the exhibition to study the details of the museum's collection in incredible detail.

Ethnographic drawing of a wooden plough (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

Traditional Portuguese heritage

The drawings archive consists of two distinct collections. One, results from field study carried out by the Centre of Ethnographic Study from the late 1940’s onward, primarily focused on the subject of traditional Portuguese heritage. 

Ethnographic drawing - yoke (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

A drawing showing the detail of a yoke, of the board type, used for the coupling of cattle in the municipality of Paredes, in the North of Portugal.

Ethnographic drawing of yoke (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

Two details of a yoke collected in Guimarães, in the North of Portugal. On the right, the drawing depicts the incised decoration of the external surface of the ‘canzil’.

On the left, it shows how the "canzil", a curved utensil used to connect the yoke to the neck of the animal, is fixed in the yoke’s board.

Ethnographic drawing - "trilho" (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

A "trilho", a traditional thresher of the "tribullum" type, used until the the mid 20th century for the threshing of wheat in Palaçoulo, Miranda do Douro in the Northeast of Portugal.

Ethnographic drawing - a traditional thresher (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

A "trilho", a traditional thresher of the "plostellum" type. This instrument was used until the mid-20th century for the threshing of wheat in Melides, Grândola, in the South of Portugal.

Ethnographic drawing - agricultural tools (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

A depiction of flails (in Portuguese "manguais" or "malhos"), agricultural tools used in the North of Portugal for the threshing of cereals, in order to separate the grains from chaff.

Ethnographic drawing of a wooden plough (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

A wooden plough collected in Cova de Serpa, Figueira da Foz, Central Portugal.

Ethnographic drawing of a sieve (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

Four sieves used in Terceira island (Archipelago of Azores, Portugal), for separating the wheat from the chaff.

Ethnographic drawing - gunpowder holder (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

A "polvorinho", used to carry gunpowder for hunting, made from a cut ox horn by a shepherd of Borba, in the South of Portugal. In addition to the three-dimensional representation of the object, the drawing also details the decorative elements of the object.

Ethnographic drawing of a chavelha (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

A "chavelha", a utensil used to connect the yoke to the ox cart, collected in Barcelos, in the North of Portugal.

Woman spinning, Benjamim Pereira, 1967, From the collection of: Museum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art
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This woman uses a relief decorated distaff for spinning in Gemeses, Esposende, North of Portugal.

Distaff, From the collection of: Museum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art
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Ethnographic drawing - details of distaff (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

The drawings sought to capture every detail, in technical quality of the relief work.

Ethnographic drawing - head adornment (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

Asian & African collections

The other part of the collection, consists of almost 1.000 drawings of the museum’s collection, dating from 1965, the year of the museum’s inauguration. This collection consists primarily of works from Portugal's former colonies: Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, Caper Verde & Timor-Leste

Ethnographic drawing (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

Details of a basket, used by the Makonde people (Mozambique) for sifting and for the transport of fruits or beans.

Ethnographic drawing - "Cimbôa" musical instrument (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

A "Cimbôa", a musical instrument collected in Tarrafal, Santiago island, Cape Verde.

Ethnographic drawings - Ninte Kamatchol & Nimba (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

The sculpture on the right of this picutre, depicts the sculpture "Ninte Kamatchol", used by the Nalu people (Guinea Bissau) in male initiation rituals. It also plays an important role in agrarian rites as in funerary rites of dignitaries.

The smallest drawing, on the left, depicts the upper section of a "Nimba", a mask used by the Nalu (Cacine, Campeane, Guinea-Bissau) in festivals related to the rice harvest and funerary ceremonies

Ethnographic drawing - saber and a dagger (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

A saber, depicted on the left, and a dagger with sheath, on the right, made by the Mandinga peoples (Guinea-Bissau).

Ethnographic drawing - back adornment (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

A back adornment used by boys of the pre-initiation age class in ritual performances, among the Bidjago in the Formosa island (Bidjogo Archipelago, Guinea-Bissau).

Ethnographic drawing - ceremonial staff (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

The upper section of a ceremonial staff, used in possession rites by the "deceased" women, among the Bidjogo of the island of Canhabaque, Archipelago, Guinea-Bissau.

Ethnographic drawing, door of "suco" chief, Timor-Leste (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

Door from the household of a Chief of the "Suco" of Fatumaca, Baucau region (Timor-Leste).

Ethnographic drawing, detail from door, Timor-Leste (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

A fragment of the decorative panels from a household door, with male and female figures sculpted in high-relief.

This item was collected by Ruy Cinatti in the ‘Suco’ of Fatumaca, region of Baucau, in Timor-Leste.

Ethnographic drawing of a Keke, Timor-Leste (20th century) by Fernando GalhanoMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

A "Keke", an open bracelet made in Timor-Leste. In addition to the three-dimensional representation of the bracelet, the drawing also depicts the human, animal and vegetable figures that decorate its surface, as well as the detail of the decorative motifs on one of its ends.

Ethnographic drawing - bamboo box (20th century) by Manuela CostaMuseum of Ethnology & Museum of Popular Art

The incised decoration on the surface of a cylindrical bamboo box from Timor-Leste.

Now that you have a feel for the collection, why not come and discover this amazing museum for yourself.

Credits: Story

Coordination:

Paulo Costa
Diretor MNE & MAP

Digital Production:

Luis Ramos Pinto
DGPC

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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