Commence ton planning de voyage:
Chamaerops humilis is a dwarf palm tree. It is the only palm native to Europe. Its common name is European fan palm and in Mallorca it is used to make many original handicraft objects. They are locally referred to as “Obra de llatra”.
The Archduke Louis Salvator mentions basketwork in his monumental work “Die Balearen”, which was published in several volumes from 1869 to 1891. In the book he describes the “obra de llatra” making process in great detail, from the picking of the plant and the separation of the strands to the weaving of the handicraft article.
At the end of the 19th century production was at its highest level. As a result, La Protectora was created in Capdepera in 1899. Six years later it was renamed La Palmera. It was the first and only cooperative specializing in woven palm products. Artà was another important centre of basketwork production. Nowadays Artà and Capdepera are the main centres of production. Small, charming shops selling this handicraft can be found in the streets of the two towns.
The treatment used to prepare the palms for the laborious making process begins with leaf picking in July. They are spread out and left to dry in the sun which gives them their characteristic white colour. Once dry they are split into finer strands, a process known in Catalan as “embrinar”. The best quality strands are set aside for the finer work and the rest are used to make brooms and brushes. The strands are washed in water with bleach. The palm is treated with sulphur, which gives it an even whiter colour and makes it more flexible and therefore more workable. The artisan then weaves the “brins” or strands, a task that in Mallorca, unlike in other places, is still practically in the hands of women. They make an extremely varied range of articles, including several types of baskets (to store fruit and greens, carry wood, etc), hats, saddlebags, backpacks and sandals. The design and the choice of colours range from the most traditional to the most modern and innovative. However, they always maintain a handmade feel making each article unique. Two places worth visiting for their basketwork are the Artà regional museum, which exhibits traditional tools, and the medieval market that takes place in Capdepera in mid May and has abundant basketwork on display.
But Mallorcan basketwork is not limited only to “obra de llatra”, even though it is one of the most characteristic techniques. Several types of baskets, creels and mats are made of reed (Arundo donax), which was introduced by the Arabs, and the native giant reed (Pharagmites communis). Sisal and cat’s tail are used to make traditional chairs. “Pleita” is a handicraft that uses esparto grass to make many useful items, from church bell ropes to “capsanas”, rope rings stringed with esparto grass and used to support ”greixoneres” (concave clay pots made mainly in Pòrtol).
“Espardenyes” are also made of esparto grass. They are a type of shoe with an esparto or jute sole used by the Spanish royal family in summer. In calle Cordeleria of Palma you will still find basketwork shops that take you back to the golden period experienced in the 1960s. One of the shops is the oldest shop managed by the same family in Europe. The shops is Ca la Seu, founded in 1510 and managed by the same family until 2002. At the beginning they only worked for “La Seu” (Palma’s cathedral) as its name indicates. The shop was located near the cathedral. They made ropes and mats for the cathedral, among many other articles. At the end of the 19th century, they moved to a building in calle Cordeleria. They increased their range of products and opened to the general public. A walk along this street is very interesting, because it preserves the flavour of the past.
If the content of is page is available in sign language, you will find a video in the MULTIMEDIA
module. If unavailable, you can
request its interpretation.
Ajouter la pièce
Note: The Consell de Mallorca is not responsible for the views expressed by the users of the site. Comments posted by users do not necessarily represent the views of InfoMallorca.
InfoMallorca is the official tourist information website of Mallorca. It is part of the Network of Tourist Information Centres of the Consell de Mallorca. As well as information for visitors, InfoMallorca provides services that will help you prepare your trip and a user community area where you can share information and experiences with other residents and visitors. More information. Legal notice.