Archives for posts with tag: Praca Benedicto Calixto

Living statue, Feira de Antiguidades MASP

At the Museu de Arte Sao Paulo (MASP) every Sunday, scores of antiques traders set up their stalls for the buying public. (For more on what happens at MASP, see .) They have been doing so for more than 25 years, and the public come in their thousands. The stalls take up all the cobbled space under the museum. A craft market has sprung up over the road in front of the Trianon park, which boasts its own antique, the last remaining shred of the original Sao Paulo flora, the Mata Atlantica.

Italian 1920s statue of bandeirante pioneer outside Parque Trianon

The market is organised by the Association of Antiquaries of Sao Paulo state (AAESP), and the antiques are of high quality. It’s noticeable that the stock has Brasilian characteristics. Some objects – spectacle frames, knives of all kinds, religious artefacts, fine art glass, optical goods, watches and fountain pens – stand out for their plentiful supply. Naturally the more usual jewellery, antique prints, silver, porcelain, fine fabrics, and coins, and ‘classic’ modern objects like telephones and tin toys, also make an appearance. This market is more ‘fine art’ than the Saturday market at Praca Benedicto Calixto, though a good number of traders sell at both.

At both markets, the fine art objects are often European – English and German silver, porcelain and cutlery, French bronzes and glass – while Italians feature in Brasilian public sculpture and church mosaics. Popular and nostalgic objects – vinyl and CD music, books and posters, toys, a little furniture – are  mostly Brasilian, as are the crafts.

French bronze torchere, from an estate or fazenda in Sao Paulo state

We are of course seeing the past. It sheds light on how Lula, Brasil’s previous president, made such an impact when he encouraged Brasilians to be proud of their own country, and how it might be politically possible to sustain the high duty and tariff barriers for imported goods. In Australia we used to have what was called the ‘cultural cringe’, with reference to the UK. That’s long gone, and it isn’t much in evidence in Brasil with reference to Europe, except perhaps in these traces of the past.

Baluchi carpets (or Baluch or Beluchi carpets) are handmade carpets originally made by Baluch nomads, living near the borders of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. About 70% live in the main part in Pakistan. Smaller groups of Baluch nomads also live in Bahrain, and in the Punjab and Sindh provinces of India.

The carpets are often small with lively patterns, and praying carpets are common. The dominant colours are red, brown and dark blue. The warp is made of wool or a mixture of wool and goat hair; some newer carpets have a warp made of cotton.The carpets sold in the city of Mashad in Iran are known as Mashad-Baluch carpets, and those sold in the city of Herat in Afghanistan as Herat-Baluch carpets.

Today I bought this 100% wool Iranian one in the city of Sao Paulo in Brazil, bargaining for a good price in the time-honoured fashion. My friend in the literary cafe said it was a good colour to have in an apartment, a “happy” colour. It’s more red than the photo shows, especially in natural light, and it had the thickest pile of the smaller carpets the dealers had on their stall at the Praca Benedicto Calixto market. And I guess I know something new about John Belushi too.

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