Sunday, December 11

Easter Island

Easter Island. James Cook.
Voyage towards the South Pole. 1777
(Click to enlarge or download)

Easter Island based on Captain James Cook and  Jean-François de la Pérouse's engravings.

Easter Island (Rapa Nui, Spanish: Isla de Pascua) is a volcanic island consisting mainly of three extinct coalesced volcanoes. It is one of the most isolated islands in the world but 1200 years ago a double-hulled canoe filled with seafarers from a distant culture landed upon its shores, the legends say King Hoto Matua and his family landed in Anakena beach, thus beginning the occupation of Easter Island. Over the centuries that followed a remarkable society developed in isolation on the island. For reasons still unknown they began carving giant statues out of volcanic rock and at present Easter Island is best known for its 887 giant stone monoliths, known as Moai, that dot the coastline.
Canoe Easter Island.
Atlas du voyage de la Pérouse. 1797
(Click to enlarge or download)

The early settlers called the island "Te Pito O Te Henua" (Navel of The World). Admiral Roggeveen, who came upon the island on Easter Day in 1722, named it Easter Island. Today, the land, people and language are all referred to locally as Rapa Nui.

Today is the most famous example of societies that overtook their ecological limits and collapsed as a result. Easter Island has become, for many, a metaphor for ecological disaster.
The first islanders found a lush island, filled with giant palms which they used to build boats and housing. The plants they brought with them did well in the rich volcanic soil and by AD 1550 population on the island hit a high of between 7000 and 9000, far exceeding the capabilities of the small island's ecosystem. Resources became scarce, and the once lush palm forests were destroyed - cleared for agriculture and moving the massive stone Moai. It is not certain, but the moai appear to have been built as part of status competition between the various tribus on the island, with bigger moai demonstrating greater power. The early seventeenth century was probably the pinnacle of Easter Island culture, when the biggest moai were built. However, moai construction consumed a lot of resources, particularly wood, for transport and energy and by 1650, the last tree had been felled. With the loss of the forests, the land began to erode. The small amount of topsoil quickly washed into the sea. The crops began to fail and the clans turned on one another in a battle for the scarce resources. The violence grew worse and worse. It was said that the victors would eat their dead enemies to gain strength, bones found on the island show evidence of this cannibalism.

This way the island suffered from heavy soil erosion, it was a wasteland, the eroded soil just barely producing enough food for the meager population to survive. It was under these conditions that the Birdman Cult arose.This process of erosion seems to have been gradual and may have been aggravated by sheet farming throughout most of the 20th century.
By the time Europeans arrived on the island’s shores in 1722, the number of easter Islanders had fallen dramatically, and they had been reduced to war and cannibalism.
It is nevertheless true that the world Jacob Roggeveen first observed when arriving on Rapa Nui was a land exceptionally fertile "Fowls are the only animals they keep. They cultivate bananas, sugar cane, and above all sweet potatoes.

In 1774, British explorer James Cook visited Easter Island; he reported that some statues had fallen over.
Atlas du voyage de la Pérouse. 1797
(Click to enlarge or download)
  In 1786 Jean-François de la Pérouse visited Easter Island and his gardener declared that "three days' work a year" would be enough to support the population.
Rollin, a major in the Pérouse expedition, wrote, "Instead of meeting with men exhausted by famine... I found, on the contrary, a considerable population, with more beauty and grace than I afterwards met in any other island; and a soil, which, with very little labor, furnished excellent provisions, and in an abundance more than sufficient for the consumption of the inhabitants.
The British ship HMS Blossom arrived in 1825 and reported seeing no standing statues. Easter Island was approached many times during the 19th century, but by then the islanders had become openly hostile to any attempt to land, and very little new information was reported before the 1860s.


Moai. Easter Island.
James Cook. Voyage towards the South Pole. 1777
(Click to enlarge or download)
"Moai" are some of the most incredible ancient relics ever discovered. Although often identified as "Easter Island heads", the statues are actually torsos, with most of them ending at the top of the thighs. The islanders call them "moai," and they have puzzled ethnographers, archaeologists, and visitors to the island since the first European explorers arrived here in 1722. In their isolation, why did the early Easter Islanders undertake this colossal statue-building effort? Unfortunately, there is no written record (and the oral history is scant) to help tell the story of this remote land, its people, and the significance of the nearly 900 giant moai that punctuate Easter Island's barren landscape.
They stand with their backs to the sea and are believed by most archaeologists to represent the spirits of ancestors, chiefs, or other high-ranking males who held important positions in the history of Rapa Nui. The statues may have been created in the image of various paramount chiefs. They were not individualized portrait sculptures, but standardized representations of powerful individuals. The moai may also hold a sacred role in the life of the Rapa Nui, acting as ceremonial conduits for communication with the gods.
 Almost all (95%) moai were carved out of distinctive, compressed, easily worked solidified volcanic ash found at a single site inside the extinct volcano Rano Raraku. The soft volcanic tuff was perfect material for statue carving. Using harder volcanic rock implements they were able to first sketch out the moai's outline in the rock wall and then systematically chip away at it until the moai was held in place by a thin "keel."
Monuments, L'Ille de Pâque, details.
Atlas du vogage de la Pérouse. 1797
(Click to enlarge or download)
The moai carvers were master craftsmen, they were ingenious in making the most out of sections of rock, moai can be seen carved in all directions in the cliff face. If a defect would appear in the rock the statue would be abandoned and they moved on to another area. They took advantage of fissures in the volcanic walls and also variations in colors. In short they were true artists.
Finally when a statue was finished, it was broken off its keel and slid carefully down the slope using ropes tied to giant palm trunks which were sunk in specially prepared holes in rim of the crater. At the base of the crater they were raised up and final decorations were carved into its torso and back. Coral and obsidian eyes were placed in as a final touch, although some suggest these were only placed in the statues on special occasions. Preparation was then made for transport across the island to various ahu. The ahu were the ceremonial platforms built to support collections of moai.

We can see the history of Easter Island is rich and controversial. Its inhabitants have endured famines, epidemics, civil war, slave raids, colonialism, and near deforestation; its population declined precipitously more than once.
Contacts with western “civilization” proved being even more disastrous for the island population through slavery and disease. In 1862 wave after wave of slave traders landed on Easter Island and took away all healthy individuals. In the space of one year, a level of injury, death and disease was inflicted on the population leaving a broken people, bereft of leadership. As their culture lay in disarray a new force entered the scene whose actions would forever deny the world of a true understanding of the Rapa Nui culture.

The missionaries arrived on Easter when the people were at their most vulnerable. With their society in ruins it did not take long to convert the population to Christianity. First to go was the islanders style of dress, or lack thereof. Tattooing and use of body paint were banned. Destruction of Rapa Nui artworks, buildings, and sacred objects, including most of the Rongo-rongo tablets - the key to understanding their history - was swift and complete. Islanders were forced off their ancestral lands and required to live in one small section of the island while the rest of the land was used for ranching.

Eventually all pure Rapa Nui blood died out. Annexation with
 Chile in 1888 brought new influences and population has risen to more than 2,000 and today there are only a few individuals left with ties to the original population.

Tuesday, November 1


                                                                DANIEL PEREA Y ROJAS

Click to enlarge or download
 “Picador citando al toro”. It’s one of 17 beautiful sheets of bullfighting scenes drawn by Daniel Perea in his álbum “España. Toros”.

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Daniel Perea y Rojas, deaf painter (1834-19099 is considered one of the most talented artists, publicity posters and lithographs of the second half of the nineteenth century.
Let’s consider briefly the history of Tauromachy engravings first. Previous to Mr. Perea, Antonio Carnicero was the first to show all the bullfight sequence from the beginning to the end with a graphic description of all the courses on it. It is the model that inspired all the subsequent artists.
The second great Tauromachy was Francisco de Goya’s dramatic illustrations, 40 etching pictures painted between 1814 and 1816.

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At the middle of the nineteenth century, Gustave Doré stood out in France while in Spain  the presence of the excellent watercolourist  Daniel Perea was remarkable. He was an illustrator for “La Lidia” magazine, one of the first and more significant taurine publications of the time. This magazine introduced important technological innovations such as chromolithography, that  improved colour and strokes in pictures. In an age when photography did not exist, the work of these artists became the only graphic elements available to give evidence about what was happening in the bullfighting rings.
In the twentieth century, another great Tauromachy flourished, Pablo Picasso’s 26 aquatint illustrations. And finally I must mention the outstanding twenty first century taurine artist José María Guerrero Medina. His Tauromachy is composed by 12 etching engravings remembering Picasso and inspired by José Tomás.

Click to enlarge or download

As for Daniel Perea’s other works, I will mention “A los toros”. It is an album composed of 28 black watercolour sheets of the entire course of a bullfight, together with  4 page song with chromolith illustrations in the margins, “La Marcha de la Manolería”, from la zarzuela “Pan y toros”. It contains explanations of the scenes on the opposing page in Spanish, French and English. Each illustration is also printed with parallel text in these languages.
The plates from this album are also available in colour. It is a collection of 24 lithographs without the explanations and with  captions just in Spanish.

Click to enlarge or download

As I have these albums, if any of you are interested in these illustrations, just email me and I will give you all the digitalized copies on them in jpg format. (Until the end of November 2011). After this date, you will have to pay for them a small price –let’s say, 1€ for black and white digital copies, 3€ for coloured ones. I will donate the money to charities or to any educational project.

Monday, September 5

The Ascent of Money

I read the book  The Ascent of Money:  A Financial History of the World  by Harvard historian Niall Ferguson  as part of my summer reading and I also watched the documentaries.  It’s interesting to see the rise and fall of different countries based solely on whether someone could get a loan.

From its opening sentence,
 “Bread, cash, dosh, dough, loot, lucre, moolah, readies, the wherewithal: call it what you like, money matters.To Christians, love of it is the root of all evil. To generals, it's the sinews of war. To revolutionaries, it's the chains of labor.”…
  To its final text,

 “There are those who talk about the death of capitalism or the end of free markets, as if the state were somehow an alternative to financial markets. The historical reality, as should by now be clear, is that states and financial markets have always existed  in a symbiotic relationship. Indeed, without the exigencies of public finance, much of the financial innovation that produced  central banks, the bond market and the stock market would never have ocurred. I remain more than ever convinced  that, until we fully understand the origin of financial species, we shall never understand the fundamental truth about money : that , far from being´a monster that must be put  back in it´s place (as Merkel recently said) , financial markets are like the mirror of mankind, revealing every hour of every working day the way we value ourselves and the resources of the world around us.
It´s not the fault of the mirror if it reflects our blemishes as clearly as our beauty.”.
Professor Niall Ferguson traces the evolution of money, showing  that finance is in fact the foundation of human progress  and suggests that financial history is the fundamental background to all history. “From Mesopotamia right down to day, the ascent of money has been an indispensable part of the ascent of Man,” he says, adding: “Without the invention of credit, the entire economic history of our world would have been impossible.”
Money, such a simple word, is at the very core of our relations. It must rank as oneof the great inventions of our species, alongside the division of labour and the wheel.
So we march with money through time. From the Roman denarius, still circulating in Europe in the early Middle Ages, through the development of the loan sharks in northern Italy into the first real bankers; from the rise of Amsterdam as the world's financial capital and the gradual shift of its techniques to London; from the Rothschilds, who did not, as is popularly supposed, make a great coup out of using carrier pigeons to learn the result of the battle of Waterloo before anyone else, but rather from a huge subsequent gamble on the price of government securities; to the first great age of market capitalism during the 19th century; and to the booms and busts of the modern world.
What I find especially interesting about The Ascent of Money is the way in which it ties together bits of history that are largely unrelated in my mind and Ferguson's ability to link the past with the present – particularly helpful right now. For example, he draws a parallel between international investment during the last great burst of globalisation from 1870 to 1914 and the massive international capital flows of the present global era. The difference was that during the 19th century it was mostly a case of the developed world, Britain, France and other European nations, financing infrastructure in developing countries, now it is a still-developing country, China, financing consumption in the US. The author coined the term  "Chimerica", which he describes as "the wonderful dual country ... which accounts for just over a 10th of the world's land surface, a quarter of its population, a third of its economic output and more than half of global economic growth in the past eight years".
I found this section of  “Chimerica” especially fascinating. I was surprised to see the power of saving money which is demonstrated by the recent descent in US economic power and position in relation to China. It is also surprising that China is becoming the “World Bank” in such a short period of time.
This is one  of my favorite documentaries. I've developed a greater understanding of the development of “money” and the emergence of global finance. A must watch for everybody.

Enjoy Episode 6 of The Ascent of Money documentary.

Tuesday, June 28

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man

Vitruvian Man. Leonardo da Vinci. 1490

Chapter 1 “On Symmetry in Temples and in the Human Body” from Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, describing the perfect human form in geometrical terms, was the source of inspiration for numerous Renaissance artists. The architect proposed that a properly constructed temple should reflect and relate to the parts of the human body. He noted that a human body can be symmetrically inscribed within both a circle and a square, the perfect geometric forms. But only one of these Renaissance artists, the incomparable Leonardo da Vinci, succeeded in correctly illustrating the proportions outlined in Vitruvius’ work De Architectura and the result became his most famous illustration and one of the most recognized drawings in the world, The Vitruvian Man, named in honour of the architect.
This renowned drawing was completed in 1490 and it is accompanied by hand writing notes based on the work of Vitruvius surrounding the figure. It is a pen ink drawing on paper depicting a nude male figure whose outstretched limbs touch the circumference of a circle and the edges of a square. His navel falls in the exact center of the circle, but this depends on the position of the arms and legs and when the figure is in standing position, when the figure is “squared”, the center of gravity becomes the phallus which is, concerning this drawing from the compositional point of view, more important, since it is the center of the underlying geometry that outlines the basic features of the figure.
The fundamental composition consists of a circle, a square and a triangle, a sigillum known to magicians and alchemists, although the compositional triangle on this drawing is concealed.
The drawing is stored in the Gallerie dell’ Accademia in Venice, Italy and it is only displayed occasionally like most works on paper.
Other artists and architects had attempted to depict Vitruvius’ theory  prior to Leonardo with less success. Da Vinci's drawing differs from the previous works in that the male figure adopts two different positions within the same image. He is simultaneously within the circle and the square; movement and liveliness are suggested by the figure's active arms and legs. Leonardo's figure appears as a living being with unruly hair, distinct facial features and a strong build. While the subject is lively, thin lines on his form show the significant points of the proportion scheme., showing da Vinci's concern with the architectural meaning of the work. Leonardo is representing the body as a building and illustrating Renaissance theory which linked the proportions of the human body with architectural planning.
It is apparent that da Vinci wrote the text surrounding the figure in Vitruvian Man alter creating the drawing, as the words are tailored to the contours of the circle and the square. The presence of text legitimates the image; the authority of Vitruvius explains why Leonardo created the drawing. The image is not, however, simply an illustration of the text. Words and image interact in the work and the significance of the piece lies in the connection between the two. By combing text and illustration, da Vinci evokes a meaning which could not be created through words or image alone.

The text accompanying leonardo’s drawing is the complete translation into Italian from the Latin of Vitruvius, De architecture , Book III of X, chapter 1, as da Vinci’s drawing was originally an illustration for a book on the works of Vitruvius. It says:  “The measurements of the human body are distributed by Nature as follows that is that 4 fingers make 1 palm, and 4 palms make 1 foot, 6 palms make 1 cubit; 4 cubits make a man's height. And 4 cubits make one pace and 24 palms make a man; and these measures he used in his buildings. If you open your legs so much as to decrease your height 1/14 and spread and raise your arms till your middle fingers touch the level of the top of your head you must know that the centre of the outspread limbs will be in the navel and the space between the legs will be an equilateral triangle.

The length of a man's outspread arms is equal to his height.

Leonardo da Vinci's self portrait

From the roots of the hair to the bottom of the chin is the tenth of a man's height; from the bottom of the chin to the top of his head is one eighth of his height; from the top of the breast to the top of his head will be one sixth of a man. From the top of the breast to the roots of the hair will be the seventh part of the whole man. From the nipples to the top of the head will be the fourth part of a man. The greatest width of the shoulders contains in itself the fourth part of the man. From the elbow to the tip of the hand will be the fifth part of a man; and from the elbow to the angle of the armpit will be the eighth part of the man. The whole hand will be the tenth part of the man; the beginning of the genitals marks the middle of the man. The foot is the seventh part of the man.
Vitruvian Man's importance lies in its clear reflection of the ideas of its time. It demonstrates the enthusiasm for the theories of Vitruvius among da Vinci and his contemporaries.
Many theories abound about this work, secret meanings and astrological and mystical interpretations of the sketch but I think it is a geometrical study that has stood the test of time, though I am fascinated by the product of the greatest Renaissance artist, scientist, mathematician, inventor, anatomist and engineer, LEONARDO DA VINCI. Enjoy it!

Sunday, May 29

Last Thursday Carlos Núñez, the worldwide famous Galician bagpipe player, visited our school IES Val do Tea. Needless to say it was a great event for everybody but mainly for students.

They were looking forward to it eagerly and they had prepared a welcome poster and some projects about him.

He did not disappoint anybody. He offered us all his best in two sessions with our school auditorium overflowed with students.
He gave an interesting talk about the musical and linguistic links between Brazil and Galicia showing us an outstanding video recorded while he was preparing his last album “Alborada do Brasil”. He answered lots of student questions, played the flute beautifully for them and finally he signed some “Alborada do Brasil” CDs that the school had previously drawn among students.

He also gave a signed poster to IES Val do Tea.
Our students from the school choir and the bagpipe and muñeira dance group delighted us with their performances.
It was a memorable and unforgettable day for our students and I’d like to highly appreciate the great effort Carlos Núñez did to be with us.
Thanks a lot!

And now, enjoy the video recorded live at IES Val do Tea. (Pity, it is not a good quality, as he deserves)

Tuesday, May 17

Ésta es una entrada muy larga porque quiero reflejar la evolución del traje salmantino hasta el actual traje charro basándome en grabados existentes desde el siglo XVIII.

Los primeros grabados del traje de Salamanca aparecieron en la segunda mitad del siglo XVIII realizados por el ilustrador madrileño Juan de la Cruz Cano y Olmedilla en su obra “Colección de trajes de España tanto antiguos como modernos, que comprehende todos los de sus Dominios: Dividido en dos Volúmenes, con ocho quadernos de á doze estampas cada uno”. La primera edición apareció en Madrid el año 1777. Este tipo de estampas eran muy comunes en Francia donde el Marqués de la Ensenada había enviado a Cruz Cano para que aprendiera las técnicas del grabado. Esta obra tuvo un éxito inmediato tanto en España como en el extranjero .

Cruz Cano presenta a la mujer salmantina como “aldeana charra del partido de Salamanca” y al hombre como “aldeano de los caseríos de Salamanca”. Estas dos láminas están publicadas con los números 23 y 24. No se trata del traje charro como lo conocemos actualmente sino uno más de “los trajes más normales de la plebe del Reino, nos dice el autor.
Otros grabados definen al traje salmantino como “de los alrededores”, “de las cercanías”, “del partido”, “del distrito” o simplemente hombre o mujer de Salamanca. Términos bastante imprecisos para localizar exactamente el lugar, por lo que se deduce que debía comprender una comarca bastante amplia alrededor de Salamanca.
De estos grabados voy a considerar brevemente algunos que nos permitan analizar el traje usado generalmente en la comarca de Salamanca y nos permita observar su evolución hacia el traje charro actual.
J. Laroque realizó los grabados ”Homme de Salamanque” y “Femme de Salamanque” en 1796 muy semejantes a los grabados de Cano y Olmedilla, al igual que otro grabado con el mismo nombre “Femme de Salamanque” de 1792 realizado por S. Sauveur que apareció en “Modes et Costume Historique” de los hermanos Pauquet. En estos grabados, el hombre aparece con pelo largo atado y viste las siguientes prendas: sombrero, capa, jubón de manga rajada con botonadura delantera, calzón hasta la rodilla ceñido con cinta o mediavaca de cuero, medias, zapatos llanos con tacón bajo y pala achatada y polainas. La mujer viste sombrero de calidad entrefina de ala mediana, casco chato y adornado, manta o pañuelo de cabeza abrochado a la sobarba, cae sobre el pecho y resguarda los hombros (esta prenda desaparece en la segunda mitad del siglo XIX), pañuelo de hombros, camisa o jubón de faldillas con mangas abullonadas que se ajusta con un ceñidor, presenta labores con motivos tradicionales de flores y animales. Sayas y manteos, el cimero abierto por detrás dejando ver los medianeros y bajeros guarnecidos de ribetes y listones en colores contrastados, mandil o picote avarillado con guarnición en las esquinas y calzado de tipo abotinado con tacón no alto. En cuanto a las joyas todavía muestran un uso moderado de alhajas, se limitan a unos collares y pendientes. Son joyas discretas, opuestas al ostentoso aderezo que se oficializó unos cien años más tarde.

Ya a principios del siglo XIX encontramos más grabados representativos del traje usado en Salamanca. “Servant girls of Salamanca” y “Paysan du district de Salamanque) de 1809 de I. Clark basado en las acuarelas del pintor y viajero inglés W. Bradford.

En 1825 el grabador Edné Jean Pigal realiza “Villageouse des environs de Salamanque”, conserva

aún el pañuelo de cabeza atado
a la barbilla y cubriendo los hombros pero el mandil está ya más adornado que los grabados anteriores y se va acercando al mandil charro.

El ilustrador y pintor francés Louis-Marie Lanté trabajaba para la revista “Journal des dames et des modes” y realizó unas ilustraciones del vestido regional popular de Francia y otros países. En 1827 publicó los grabados “Costume de Salamanque” y dos versiones diferentes de “Servante de Salamanque”, una de ellas una copia de Bradford.

En la obra “L’Espagne pittoresque, artistique et monumental” de Clerman aparece en 1848 otro grabado con el título “Femme des environs de Salamanque”.

El bonito grabado “Burgos, Salamanque , Santander” de Rouargue se encuentra en su libro “Voyage pittoresque en Espagne et en Portugal” de 1852. La salmantina conversa con un burgalés y una pasiega, viste un sayuelo de dos cuerpos atado con cordones bordeado de galones y repulgo. Las mangas son estrechas con folladura en el antebrazo abrochado con una hilera de botones. Tiene un amplio escote por el que deja ver las zonas ornamentales de la camisa. Esta prenda fue sustituida posteriormente por la chambra o jubona en el traje charro. La profusión del mandil de la salmantina contrasta con la simplicidad de la pasiega, un claro adelanto del ornamental mandil charro.

En esta época se dan los últimos y definitivos pasos del traje popularizado como de charro y charra respectivamente aunque debe tenerse presente que a partir de la Guerra de la Independencia se produjo una moda uniforme llamada “a la europea” generalizada al igual que en el resto de España. Los grabadores seguían ilustrando trajes plebeyos ya obsoletos.
En el grabado de Gustavo Doré “Charro des environs de Salamanque” que aparece en la obra “Voyage en Espagne” del barón Ch. de Davillier el traje de hombre ya ha sufrido una transformación importante, semejante al actual

traje charro actual. El sombrero es de los llamados de “embudo” con ala corta y vuelta adornado con borlas. El camisón es llano con la pechera fruncida y abrochado en el cuello con un solo botón. Ha desaparecido el coleto y aparece el chaleco de hojas cuadradas con generoso escote y chaqueta con solapa y bolsillos. Calzón de los llamados de maldil y medias y zapatos cubiertos de polainas. La capa es de esclavina lisa.

Avanzando el siglo XIX y también la técnica de la fotografía empezamos a ver las primeras fotografías de charros y charras reales, así a principios del siglo XX, concretamente en el año 1903 aparece en la revista “Hojas selectas” un artículo titulado “La romería de Tejares” describiendo minuciosamente los diferentes trajes típicos de Salamanca: el de artesana, el de charra y el de serrana. Lo ilustra con varias imágenes como esta fotografía con tres tipos de muchachas salmantinas.

Entre las fotos más antiguas pueden citarse las realizadas por el fotógrafo salmantino Venancio Gombáu (1868 – 1932) por cuyo estudio pasó toda la sociedad local y provincial. En sus retratos observamos ya a los charros y charras tal como los conocemos actualmente con gran profusión de joyas que han aumentado progresivamente desde una gargantilla a collares de varias vueltas y colgantes que cubren todo el torso. “Charra. Paysanne de Salamanque” y “Charro. Paysan de Salamanque” . También nos presenta los diferentes tipos de trajes de la provincia, de serrrana, de candelaria y de charra “Trajes populares de Salamanca”.

El traje charro se asentó definitivamente
como el “traje regional salmantino” con la visita del rey Alfonso XIII y la reina Victoria Eugenia a Salamanca en 1922. Se les obsequió con sendos trajes charros con sus correspondientes alhajas y abanico de filigrana de plata. En 1934 los monarcas donaron sus trajes charros al Museo del Pueblo Español y actualmente forman parte de los fondos del museo del traje.

En la foto puede verse a la reina Victoria vestida de charra.

El traje de mujer charra es de gran vistosidad. En la cabeza lleva rodetes con trenzas caladas para las orejas de pelo natural y adornadas con horquillas, un moño en la parte superior de la cabeza atado con unas cintas bordadas, un velo de tul bordado sobre la cabeza y grandes pendientes.
El busto se cubre con la chambra o jubona de seda con botones de filigrana, pañuelo de hombros de tela bordado por cuadrantes con lentejuelas, dengue o crucero de paño con bordados sobrepuestos , saya encarnada bajera con vuelta y encima el manteo más rico con festón de bordados y tirana de terciopelo. Mandil bordado profusamente y rematado por un faralar de seda, faltriquera bordada colgando de la cintura y por la parte de atrás caen dos cintas bordadas y rematadas de flecos de oro; medias caladas y zapatos de terciopelo bordados con lentejuelas. Como ya se ha dicho anteriormente exhibe gran cantidad de joyas, collares de oro, aderezos, galápagos, cruces, y veneras que cubren totalmente el torso.
Podeis apreciar la riqueza del traje charro y las prendas que lo componen en la siguiente presentación de los trajes charros de la familia y en la fotografía de María Gil Guerrero vestida de charra.

Friday, April 8

The Maori people are the indigenous people of Aotearoa (New Zealand), they first arrived here in a number of epic waka hourua (voyaging canoes) over a significant period of time from their ancestral Polynesian homeland of Hawaiki (Cook Islands, Hawaii and Haiti). These journeys established Maori as daring and resourceful adventurers, and as one of the greatest navigating people of all time. They adapted very easily to the new environment and started to cultivate the land, manufacture textiles and build wooden houses. Maori were expert hunters and fishermen, fishing was vitally important for them. They wove fishing nets from flax and carved fishhooks from bone and stone. A Maori tradition that remains today is throw back the first fish caught, as a way of thanking Tangaroa, god of the sea, for this generosity. Maori hunted native birds, including moa, the world’s largest bird, with a range of ingenious traps and snares. Maori ate native vegetables and also introduced vegetables from Polynesia, including the kumara (sweet potato). Vegetables were planted and harvested with a variety of tools including diggers, spades, and clubs. Weaved flax basket and bags were used to carry food, which was often stored in a pataka — a storehouse raised on stilts. Maori have proved to be excellent warriors. Only men fought, and one of the most highly prized weapons was the spear-like taiaha. This weapon, often beautifully carved, is still used in Maori ceremonies today, and its use has become a highly sophisticated art form. Another fearsome weapon was the mere (club), beautifully carved, with some made out of pounamu (greenstone or jade). A warrior with a full moko (tattoo) on his face, brandishing a taiaha or mere, makes a fearsome sight. New Zealand has been inhabited by Maori since approximately 1300 AD. Dutch navigator Abel Tasman was the first European to discover New Zealand during his voyage of 1642–43, although he never set foot on the land. Tasman’s first contact with Maori was at the top of the South Island in what is now called Golden Bay. Two waka (canoes) full of Maori men sighted Tasman’s boat. Tasman sent out his men in a small boat, but various misunderstandings saw it rammed by one of the waka. In the resulting skirmish, four of Tasman’s men were killed. Captain James Cook was sent to search for the great southern continent thought to exist in the southern seas by the king of England and he arrived in New Zealand in1769 and claimed it for Great Britain. Cook successfully circumnavigated and mapped the country. His botanists and other experts on board his ship, the Endeavour, gained considerable information about the country’s flora and fauna, and the native Maori inhabitants. Cook led two more expeditions to New Zealand, before being killed on a Hawaiian beach in 1779. This is the reason why James Cook is said to have discovered New Zealand but it is not true, the real discoverers were Maori people. In spite of this it wasn't until the late 1700s that the first Europeans began to settle in New Zealand. In 1835 the Declaration of Independence of New Zealand was signed by 34 Maori chiefs. The Declaration asserted the independence of New Zealand, with all sovereign power and authority residing with the hereditary chiefs and tribes. A few years later on 6 February 1840, Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) between Maori and the Crown was signed. The Treaty guaranteed Maori full possession of their land in exchange for their recognition of British sovereignty. The Treaty of Waitangi is regarded as New Zealand's founding document and remains a core point of reference for Maori and the Government. Maori culture has many interesting aspects including art, legend, tattoo (moko), performances (notably kapa haka), customs, hospitality and community. Since the early 1980s Maori culture has undergone a renaissance. The regeneration of interest in Maori culture has extended to language, and Maori language programs (such as kohanga reo) are now flourishing. Today Maori people are actively involved with keeping their culture and language alive. Within any Maori community, the marae provides a focus for social, cultural and spiritual life. The term marae describes a communal 'plaza' area that includes a wharenui (meeting house) and wharekai (dining room). The marae is used for ceremonial purposes, it’s a place where the culture can be celebrated, where the Maori language can be spoken, where intertribal obligations can be met, where customs can be explored and debated, where family occasions such as birthdays can be held, and where important ceremonies, such as welcoming visitors or farewelling the dead can be performed. All formal Maori gatherings are accompanied by oratory in Maori; action songs; formal receptions of visitors, accompanied by the hongi, or pressing together of noses on greetings. Hongi is a traditional Maori welcome, which literally means “to share breath”. It is believed that when the two noses meet, people exchange their breath and the visitor becomes one of the local people (tangata whenua), ready to share in all responsibilities and duties. It seems to me a beautiful and tender greeting. I'd feel very at home and most importantly.... Welcome if I were greeted with this warm Maori traditional greeting.

The art of moko or Maori tattooing was one of the few features of external Maori culture to persist from pre -European times well into the 20th century. Ta moko was brought by Maori from their eastern Polynesian homeland. The implements and methods used are similar to those found in other parts of Polynesia. Ta moko, often referred to as Maori tattoo, is the traditional permanent marking of the body and face by Maori. But ta moko is distinct from tattoo in that the skin is carved by uhi (chisels) instead of being punctured with needles. This leaves the skin with textured grooves, rather than the smooth surface of a normal tattoo. Ta moko is a core component of Maori culture and an outward expression of commitment and respect. It denotes rank, traces one’s whakapapa (genealogy) and iwi (tribal history). Each line, each spiral, each whorl represented an important aspect of the individual who bore the markings. It is believed to have begun as a need to look fierce by streaking one’s face with charcoal and red ochre which became an intricate art form of grace and beauty while also maintaining a sense of fierceness and pride. In pre-European Maori culture, many if not most high-ranking persons received moko. Those who went without moko were seen as persons of lower social status. A person, either man or woman, who bore no markings was considered to be plain looking and this was a status in itself usually reserved for slaves. Even children as young as 8-10 years old displayed body tattoos. No child bore the markings of Mataora (facial tattoo) as could be observed by the early settlers. The reasoning for this appears to be that a child’s face had yet to grow into maturity and this growth could alter the markings. Receiving moko constituted an important milestone between childhood and adulthood, and was accompanied by many rites and rituals. Apart from signalling status and rank, another reason for the practice was to make a person more attractive to the opposite sex. Ta Moko was like a history of a person's achievements and represented their status in their tribe. It also served as a reminder to people about their responsibility in life. It was a huge honour for people to have Ta Moko. Ta Moko was worn by both men and women. It was applied to the face and buttocks of men, and to the chin, lips and shoulders of women. Depending on their ranking, they may also have Ta Moko on their face. Occasionally women would put small markings over their faces or shoulders as a sign that someone close to them had died. There were no set patterns to the Ta Moko and the meaning of the Ta Moko was dependent on its placement on the face. The left side of the face related to the father's history and the right side to the mother's history. Designing the appropriate Ta Moko for each man was a long process that could take weeks or even months as there was much to take into consideration. No two were ever the same even though the meaning of each design was based on recognisable principles. After almost dying out in the twentieth century, Maori tattooing is now experiencing a powerful revival, with many young Maori wearing the moko as a spectacular gesture of racial pride and a sign of cultural identity. Ta moko is performed by a tohunga ta moko (tattoo expert) and the practice is considered a tapu (sacred) ritual. The design of each moko is unique to the wearer and conveys information about the wearer, such as their genealogy, tribal affiliations, status, and achievements. It is important to distinguish moko from kiri tuhi, tattoos that are not regarded as having the cultural significance attributed to moko. Ta moko was traditionally performed using chisels made from materials such as Albatross bone. An assortment of chisels was used, some with a straight edge, others with a serrated edge. The pigmentations used were Carui gum and dye from other vegetation that was rendered to a soot and then mixed with oil. Each tribal area used different pigments. Today most moko are performed using modern tattoo machines (and therefore leave the skin smooth), however in keeping with the traditional practice of ta moko, there has been a resurgent increase in the use of chisels. Ta Moko designs can now be seen on many people, both Maori and non-Maori. Given the significance of each stroke, the lack of research into the designs worn by some, including celebrities have angered some Maori. There is much meaning attached to each design that it is considered ignorant for a person, Maori or non-Maori, to use a design without understanding its relevance. Ta Moko is an art form of exquisite beauty showcased on skin. The traditions of a culture can be observed in its delicate patterns and designs. Another important Maori tradition is the haka, it generally accompanies each cultural performance today. The haka is a war dance. The words are chanted loudly (shouted) in a menacing way accompanied by arm actions and foot stamping. A haka was traditionally performed before charging into battle. The haka was danced without weapons, in contrast to the war dances (tutu ngaruhu or peruperu) which were danced with spears, clubs, or other weapons in hand. The haka, which expressed a variety of emotions such as joy, anger, and sorrow, called for exceptional rhythmical skill. Many were marked by a curious, rapid vibration of the hands; other motions included a stamping in unison, facial distortion (protruding tongue and eyeballs), rhythmical out-thrusts and movements of the arms, as well as a swaying of the body. Haka performed in a sitting position were as a rule of a milder character, with swaying motions from the arms and bodies. Every haka had its expert leader who gave time to the music and the motions of the dance. The haka may also be used to tell of great feats, or danced as a special welcome before a high-ranking guest. A haka can also express grievance, or, in earlier times, could be addressing a prayer to one of the ancient Maori Gods. Strictly speaking, the term haka refers generically to all Maori dance but has now come to mean the Maori dance repertoire where the men are in front and women lending vocal support at the back. The New Zealand rugby team, the All Blacks, promote one version of the haka which starts with the chant "Ka mate, ka mate (It is death, it is death"), it is this haka, called Te Rauparaha's haka (so named after its perceived traditional origins) that most people, particularly rugby union football fans, know as the haka. This version of the haka is both war chant and challenge and is customarily performed by the All Blacks before major games against non-New Zealand teams. It is characterised by loud chanting, much aggressive flailing of arms and stomping of feet, fierce looks and, in the end, an angry sticking out tongues. “Ka mate, ka mate” are the words of Te Rauparaha's haka (1810) used by the All Blacks: Ka mate, ka mate Ka ora, ka ora Tenei te tangata puhuruhuru Nana i tiki mai whakawhiti te ra Upane, upane Upane kaupane Whiti te ra. These words are translated as: It is death, it is death It is life, it is life This is the hairy man Who caused the sun to shine again for me Up the ladder, up the ladder Up to the top The sun shines.

Enjoy this video with the All Blacks performing the haka versus Tonga. (Stop the music first)