托莱多和她的手工艺品

      托莱多有许多有地方特色的纪念品商店。然而在这些店中继承了祖先们的手工艺技术的能工巧匠们从几百年前就给予了托莱多在世界上的新名字“托莱多造”,“托莱多造”代表着最锋利的剑和精美的金银镶嵌工艺,同时这里的陶瓷术、铸造术和木工也不容小觑。

      托莱多的炼钢艺术一直是尽人皆知的,十六、十七世纪最好的兵刃和甲胄就是出自于托莱多,这里的塔霍河水据说能奇迹般地让剑刃锋锐无匹。

      托莱多的冶金工艺绝大多数仍是纯手工打造,使得游客能够购买历史上许多名剑的忠实复制品作为留念。由于城内那些重要工厂的存在,托莱多才有那么多专门售卖刀剑的商店。

      另一种托莱多不可或缺的传统工艺是金银镶嵌,一种用金属绘画或金线银线绘制图案的镶嵌技术。

      这种镶嵌美学和白刃艺术已经成为了托莱多整个历史上的标志性产物 。

      从托莱多向外延伸,金银镶嵌的手工艺品在全西班牙很多地方被当作纪念品出售,但是在我们这座城市,您却可以在制作出这些精美至极、美轮美奂的手工艺品作坊亲眼观看其制作全过程。

Damascene

This type of decoration, applicable to all artistic objects, incrusting threads of gold or silver into a more common metal, such as blued iron, steel or copper has been practised since ancient times including by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. It developed greatly in the East when the Roman Empire moved to Byzantine, the best pieces that arrived from Europe originating from Damascus, meaning that the art took the name of Damascene, although "Ataujía" is more fitting, another name it was given. Damascene work is imitated the world over. The luxury shown in all of Europe from the end of the XV Century contributed to the resurgence of an art that had been forgotten in the West: the sumptuous armour of Carlos I and Felipe II.

As firearms developed, damascene began to lose importance, being reduced to an accessory of gold and silverwork or jewellery.

Toledo is currently the main production point of damascene in the world, and this is where the most diverse pieces can be found. Mudejar and Renaissance style work continues to be carried out, together with some new styles, such as those called "vistas".

Authentic Toledo damascene is a foundation of the prestige of a very refined craft technique. Without doubt, it is the "star" of the metal sector and a source of wealth for Toledo and Castile-La Mancha Craftwork.

Ceramics

The tradition of ceramics in the city of Toledo dates back the XI Century.

It is china, finely decorated with metallic reflections. During the reign of the Taifa king Al-Mamoun, ceramic pieces were produced of incredible beauty.

Jugs, candle holders, dishes, pitchers, and long-necked spherical bottles were all abundant. Decoration was carried out using glass coloured by iron, copper and magnesium oxide etc., as well as the outstanding "cuerda seca" (dry cord) decorations.

The great ceramics worker and researcher Mr. José Aguado holds the theory that the potters in the workshops in Medina Azara and Elvira, after the destruction of these cities, moved to the Toledo Court and there continued manufacturing "luxury ceramics".

There are many buildings and spaces in the open air in Toledo that feature this type of tiling or ceramics and which can be admired during visits.

Wood

The characteristic furniture of Toledo and which is present in many old homes, is BARGUEÑO (a Spanish Renaissance cabinet), although entrance hall cabinets of various decorated sizes and arcades are also important. Benches, armchairs, fraileros (Renaissance armchairs), chairs, tables and doors complete the production.

The bargueño, whose name places its origin from the nearby district of Bargas for some and from a carpenter called Vargas for others, has been produced from the XVI Century to today.

The essential quality of this furniture is its transportable character, since the majority of them have handles on the side for said purpose; as well as the almost total absence on the outside of decorative motifs, limiting itself to a light decoration based on forged iron and fretwork. In contrast to the exterior, the inside appears heavily decorated with glass, bone, ivory and tortoiseshell.

The Toledo armchair manufactured with a seat made of bulrush (a plant that grows in marshy places and that can grow to two and a half metres high). Its leaves are the raw material used by the craftsmen.

Carving

This is a decorative technique often used in cabinetry. The woods to be carved must be of good quality, be perfectly dry and clean, the most employed being walnut, red pine, birch, oak, olive and box wood.

As well as in Toledo, there are a large number of workshops in other towns of this province, such as Escalonilla, Lagartera, Polán and Ventas con Peña Aguilera.

Forged products

Another of the arts that is quite common in the city of Toledo is of forged iron and tin products. Historic railings like those at the railway station, the grills on doors and balconies of the houses in the Historic Quarter or the traditional streetlamps in Corpus Christi testify to this.

In some workshops people also still used to work with tin, using the techniques of doubling, cutting, perforating and engraving that produced lamps, decorative candelabras, and mirror frames.

In earlier times, the majority of production was for cooking and commercial products: oilcans, candleholders, milk churns.

Fashions and social changes have exerted a great influence over this profession. Currently, there is still a "decorative-tourist" production line, which has lead to the creation of a collection of objects for the decorative market, in many cases by painting works in bright colours, obtaining very ornamental baroque products of great brightness because of the saturation of colours employed and the variety of geometric shapes.

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