In the beautiful village of Porrúa, in the municipality of Llanes, famous for preserving the identity of a few, there is the headquarters of an evocative museum, humble in its jewels, because they belong to the social life of the Asturian people, but great in spirit. It has been open since the 2000 year and emerged as an initiative of the neighborhood itself, more specifically by the dynamic Llacín Cultural Association, which is also in charge of organizing the popular Astur de Porrúa Mercau year after year.
Facing each other are the houses that make up the museum, linked by a flown corridor. They are Asturian "casinas", hospitable at the first glance.
On the same farm there is a more recent annex of the museum that is used as a multipurpose room for temporary exhibitions of ethnographic nature.
Very close to Porrúa Ethnographic Museum
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Map: how to get to Museo Etnográfico de Porrúa
We begin our visit through the main house, architecturally dreamlike when mixing stone and traditional wood with a vanguard window on the second floor. In this space is the most pretentious exhibition: objects, tools and mechanisms of all kinds related to the most traditional activities of the Asturian rural environment, both in its domestic aspect, as pre-industrial and artisan, which in the background converge in the same sociology.
As the explanatory panels reflect, cheese and butter they were elaborated to take advantage of the surplus of domestic livestock that could not be consumed during the day. The Asturian ingenuity in the manufacture of dairy products is perfectly collected in a small exclusive room where the tools are ordered and the elaboration processes of some of the varieties in the area are detailed.
They also have their own space the memory of the tejeros. A collective that deserves a tribute apart for the basic role they played and the hardships of their work. From the seventeenth century there is evidence of crews of peasants llaniscos who moved temporarily to make tile and brick to other points of Asturias, Castilla and Vizcaya. Llanes tejanos invented a slang or secret special language to communicate among them called xiriga (jargon).
We continue the visit without hurry and we come across more signs of identity of the Asturian activity of another time. There is the iron, the forges, workshops where objects are made through the forging of the raw iron worked in the ironworks, or where they are repaired tools and pots spent for the use. A shortly after we are ordered the enameled iron utensils that were manufactured for all areas of home life since the nineteenth century. They consist of thin sheets of iron with an enamel bath usually white, but also colored.
As it could not be otherwise, also the eminently agricultural tasks have a reserved space. A series of plows aligned allow us to compare the change of technique with the passage of time. The oldest models we can see are made of wood with a toe or "grid" of wrought iron.
In the most agrarian section of the museum there is also a unique winnowing machine for cleaning cereals and legumes. Apparently it is a wooden crate with a crank and little suspects that it fulfills its role of selection so strictly. Undoubtedly, one more object to admire the ingenuity of tradition.
We stop at the spinning machines, in the piles of wool, in the dyes and the typical costumes that resulted from more basic tasks. Beyond is the carpenter's corner.
Everything is in the ethnographic museum, hardly any detail of the traditional economy, including the old block, warm, with its country car and its implements; and the llagar for the manufacture of cider, old and almost mystical.
A travel in the time
The creators of the museum were also concerned about the most popular ethnography, the one related to everyday life, which is related by itself in a charming house that does not lack detail: wood stove, dish of fabes perennial, beds and even the black and white photo of parents or grandparents, so old that it is ghostly.
We left the museum-house with the feeling of going back to a time dominated by the routine of the most essential work. We have had the opportunity to also know, although indirectly, the social relations of a relatively small community in which work and leisure were vain disquisitions.
We still have time to buy a souvenir in the store.
We left and we are surprised by the reality of the 21st century in the midst of what is still an Asturian village. Its present is only betrayed by new cars and some modern buildings. Outside the enclosure, but stuck to it magically, continues to grow a majestic avocado. Its trunk and harmonic branches rise towards the sky. The museum brochure says of him that it was planted in 1906 and that it was brought from Mexico.
To complete the visit, it is worth visiting Porrúa and discovering what remains unchanged and how many have changed in their present.Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com
Information of interestAddress / Location:
Barriu Llacín s / n.
33509 Porrúa (Llanes)
Telephone: 985 40 25 47