Monday, January 28, 2013

Spanish Colonial Elegance on View in Santa Fe

The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn, located in an historic adobe just three blocks from the Santa Fe Plaza, was built in the 1920's for a Spanish beauty.  It is not hard to imagine this regal woman, along with other wealthy Santa Fe women of that era, strolling about in fine adornments from Spain:  beautifully embroidered  mantones de Manila (elaborate hand-embroidered shawls), mantillas (hair coverings made of lace and other fine textiles), filigree jewelry, peinetas (decorative hair combs) and intricately painted fans.

We Santa Fe women are more apt to be sporting a more casual look these days, but you can view examples of these sumptuous Spanish garments and jewels at the newly opened exhibit Filigree and Finery: The Art of Spanish Elegance, at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art.  Most of the items on display are family heirlooms donated from old Santa Fe families and have never before been on display.  Because New Mexico was on the international trade route of the Camino Real, there are textiles from Spain as well as France, China, the Philippines and Mexico.  The exhibit has been curated so viewers can also see how historic laws dictated which members of society were permitted to wear different levels of finery.  Rebozos (decorative woven shawls), for example, could be woven for very little money on a back-strap loom at home, but the wealthier classes wore finely woven rebozos made with more costly materials.  As it was the custom of the day to wear one's wealth, it was not at all unusual to see women bedecked in gold, pearls and diamonds, wearing gorgeous embroidered silks and velvets, while walking along the Santa Fe's dusty roads.

Museum of Spanish Colonial Art
750 Camino Lejo (on Museum Hill)
Exhibit runs through May 27, 2013

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