General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 28 Feb 2021/5 Monkey
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Barbier-Mueller Museum in Barcelona

FURTHER AFIELD: Museu Barbier-Mueller D’Art Precolombí, Barcelona

The Barbier-Mueller Museum in Barcelona is a cousin of the prestigious B-M Museum in Geneva, Switzerland. The Barcelona museum is dedicated exclusively to pre-Colombian art. The museum’s collection covers almost every existing aesthetic expression of pre-Hispanic culture from Meso-America, Central America, the Andes and the Amazon.

Pic 1: Stone seat in the form of a coyote, Tarascan Culture
Pic 1: Stone seat in the form of a coyote, Tarascan Culture (Click on image to enlarge)

This internationally renowned collection is on loan to the Barcelona City Hall from the Barbier-Mueller Museum in Geneva. In addition to the permanent collection, the museum frequently houses travelling and temporary exhibitions.

Pic 2: Funerary piece - couple in a ritual, Nayarit
Pic 2: Funerary piece - couple in a ritual, Nayarit (Click on image to enlarge)

The Museum is based on the original collections of Josef Mueller - born in 1887 into a middle-class family from Solothurn, in German-speaking Switzerland - and his son-in-law Jean Paul Barbier. The Barbier-Mueller Museum opened its doors in May, 1977, three months after Mueller’s death.

Pic 3: Anthropomorphic censer, Veracruz
Pic 3: Anthropomorphic censer, Veracruz (Click on image to enlarge)

The collection today contains 7,000 works of art, sculptures, masks, textiles, and objects of prestige or corporal adornment. This unique store, constantly enriched by Jean Paul Barbier, constitutes the greatest collection of ‘primitive’ art in the world. The principal sectors are, in order of importance, Africa, the East Indies ("primitive" Indonesia), Oceania, the Americas (pre- and post-Columbian), tribal Asia, and, more generally, the prehistoric or archaic phases of great civilisations (Greece, Italy, Japan, the East Indies).

Pic 4: Pottery and stone metates from Costa Rica
Pic 4: Pottery and stone metates from Costa Rica (Click on image to enlarge)

Amongst its Mesoamerican artefacts are an unsual number of ancient grinding stones (‘metates’) - you can learn more about metates in our special feature (link below).

Pic 5: The Aztec goddess Chalchiuhtlicue
Pic 5: The Aztec goddess Chalchiuhtlicue (Click on image to enlarge)

The Museum is housed in the Nadal Palace, a fifteenth-century ‘hôtel particulier’ located opposite the Picasso Museum, in Montcada Street, in the heart of the gothic quarter of Barcelona.

Pic 6: Children’s art in the Education Room
Pic 6: Children’s art in the Education Room (Click on image to enlarge)

The Museum maintains an important Publications department, as well as a thriving Education department, some of the results of which you can see here...

Picture Notes:-

All photos by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore

Pic 1: Stone seat in form of coyote, Tarascan Culture, Lake Pátzcuaro, Mexico, 1000-1500 CE

Pic 2: Funerary piece representing a couple in a ritual, pottery, Ixtlán del Río style, Nayarit, Mexico, 100 BCE - 500 CE

Pic 3: Anthropomorphic Censer with figure of Huehueteotl (Old Fire God), Veracruz, Mexico, 600-800 CE

Pic 4: Pottery metate with the form of a jaguar, 800-1500 CE and volcanic stone metate, Guanacanasta-Nicoya region, 200 BCE - 400 CE, both from Costa Rica

Pic 5: Basalt stone figures of the Aztec goddess Chalchiuhtlicue

Pic 6: Examples of children’s work on Chocolate and the Rainforest, and on Henry Moore’s reclining figures

Learn more about the metate...

Learn more about Henry Moore’s reclining figures...

The Barbier-Mueller Museum of Barcelona website
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