CANDIDACY TO THE MARBLE
STONEWORK OF MACAEL
CANDIDACY TO THE MARBLE STONEWORK OF MACAEL TO INTANGIBLE HERITAGE OF HUMANITY
The City Council of Macael, in collaboration with the Friends Association of the Al-Lali Marble Museum, the Marble Association of Andalusia Entrepreneurs and the Artisans Association of the Marble Region, aims to achieve international recognition of the Macael Marble Stonework as an unique cultural manifestation through its inclusion in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO.
The main objective pursued with this recognition is to contribute to the understanding and dissemination of the Marble Stonework of Macael as a cultural manifestation, as well as to make people aware of its importance, and to promote its safeguarding.
The Marble Quarry of Macael can be considered an element of the Intangible Cultural Heritage from the definition established by UNESCO because it includes knowledge and techniques, those of stonework and its associated trades, artisans, marble makers, etc., together with the instruments and tools they use, objects and artifacts linked as mortars, sinks, crosses, baskets , sand looms, “cabestranos”, etc., and the cultural spaces, the quarries, the placetas, the workshops, the factories that are inherent to them that the people of Macael as a community, recognize as an integral part of their cultural heritage.
This intangible cultural heritage, which remains in force and in continuous evolution, has been transmitted from generation to generation, uninterruptedly at least since the ninth century and is constantly recreated by the people from Macael, exploiting their white marble quarries, destined to beautify many of the works that make up the Spanish artistic historical heritage, throughout its history , such as the Roman site of Italica, the Alhambra and the Generalife, the Palacio del Escorial or the Royal Palace in Madrid, instilling in them a very marked sense of identity and continuity, thus contributing to promote respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.
It manifests itself in the following areas established by UNESCO
- Knowledge and uses related to nature and the universe
The marble extraction and the elaboration of pieces with this material require a special knowledge, of an “art”, treasured since ancient times by the Macael stonemasons. These stonemasons-artisans develop their work, well in the quarry, extracting the marble from the bench, cleaning and “squared” the blocks in the square; or in the workshop, cutting the boards, carving shapes or finishing their surface.
- Artisanal traditional techniques
In Macael, there is an important traditional artisanal production, in which mortars, sinks and funerary art have stood out since ancient times, especially the crosses and bases. Coexisting avant-garde designs with more traditional ones whose templates transmitted from parents to children, are treasured in the numerous craft workshops that are preserved.
- Oral traditions and expressions.
In Macael, a local jargon is related to the marble exploitation has been developed, with words such as: hairs, traberío, zoblar, etc., collected by Martín García Ramos, in the book published in 1996, “El mundo de los canteros y el léxico del mármol”.
- Social uses, rituals and festive events
The festivities in honor of the Virgin of the Rosary. The most important day of the year in Macael. The constant threat of accidents, in a trade as dangerous and sacrificed as that of stonemason, is the origin of the deep devotion of the stonemasons, their families, and by extension of the entire town of Macael for their patron saint, the Virgin of the Rosary, whom have always entrusted their protection. Also the festival of San Marcos, which the families of the stonemasons go up to the mountains to have “the snack” with them; the day of the stonemason, when the retired stonemasons are honored every year; and the recreation of the quarry lawsuit, a momentous historical fact in the evolution of the Macael history.