In the tradition of the National Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions and the Museum of Man, the Mucem specializes in ethnographic surveys. Travelling the land to observe societies and their milieus, photographing and recording people in their environments, and collecting objects that are representative of their lifestyles and mentalities: this is the Mucem’s methodology for understanding the contemporary world and preserving its memory. Original, pioneering surveys, for example on graffiti, carnivals and masquerades, and currently on football, continue to further enrich the museum’s collections.
Ename, Quran box (1900/1950)Mucem
Ename, Quran box
1900 - 1950
The sacred nature of the Quran requires that a number of precautions and care be taken for the book. Quran stands prevent the book from being placed on the ground during reading whilst still keeping it open.
Section of the Berlin Wall (1961/1989)Mucem
Section of the Berlin Wall
1961 - 1989
For street artists, the wall is part of Europe’s graffiti history. The MuCEM’s section is covered with several signatures: the date of 1996 appears, and the central signature is part of a “flop” (bubble style lettering typically created in a single motion).
Costume of Neptune (1989) by Geneviève Sevin-Doerig, costume designerMucem
Costume of Neptune
This costume was made for the 1989 Marseilles Carnival. After dying off at the turn of the 20th century, the Marseilles Carnival was revived that year by a group of artists and intellectuals living in the Rive Neuve district, south of the Old Port.
Boe (bullock) mask (2005) by Gonario Denti, sculptorMucem
Boe (bullock) mask
This monoxylous mask (carved out of a single piece of wood) was sculpted for the Ottana Carnival in Sardinia to play the character of the boe, or bullock. In Ottana, every Sunday from St. Anthony’s Day (17 January) to Ash Wednesday, a masquerade of the domestication of the boes, the bullocks, by the merdules, the masters, is played out.
Boe, the bullock of the Ottana Carnival by Marie-Pascale MalléMucem
Boe, le bœuf du carnaval d’Ottana
The carnivals and masquerade balls of winter take on many different aspects, like celebrations of the transition from one year to the next. This shot, snapped during a several-year ethnographic survey of the carnivals of Europe and the Mediterranean, displays a number of features shared by all these festivities.
Like many figures in wintertime masquerades, he wears heavy bells that jangle as he walks. The din of these bells helps to symbolically ring in the new year on a healthy basis by disturbing the oppressive silence of winter, causing demons to take flight and reproducing the original commotion that preceded the creation of the world.
Sister Orgia’s habit (1994)Mucem
Sister Orgia’s habit
Everywhere they exist, the Sisters vow to help their communities and society as a whole, to fight exclusion, to advocate for peace and non-violence, and to combat AIDS by gathering funds for the ill and for prevention purposes.
Sister Orgia’s habit, in the colours of the Olympique de Marseille football club, expresses the order’s motto, “preach joy”. The Sisters are intentionally visible and provocative in the iconoclastic cross-dressing in theatricalized Catholic nun’s habits.
Official poster for the opening match of the 1930 FIFA World Cup (1930) by Guillermo LabordeMucem
Official poster for the opening match of the 1930 FIFA World Cup
Football was born in British public schools toward the end of the 19th century. This official poster for the opening match of the 1930 World Cup, which saw the French and Mexican football teams face off (4-1) on 13 July at Estadio Pocitos in Montevideo, Uruguay, was designed by Guillermo Laborde (1886-1940), an Uruguayan painter, sculptor and draughtsman.
Red Army ultra supporters at Bijeli Brijeg Stadium (2014-09-27) by Ljiljana ZeljkovicMucem
Red Army ultra supporters at Bijeli Brijeg Stadium
The ultra movement is a youth sub-culture that can be found throughout the Mediterranean and beyond. Whether in Casablanca, Naples, Istanbul or Mostar, like in this image, young football fans unfurl flags and banners, encouraging their teams by banging on drums and chanting into megaphones.
© Mucem 2017
This exhibition has been created by Mucem curators. Explore the Mucem’s collections