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  • Treasure of the Month
    The literal translation for retablo is behind the altar This genre of folk art deeply rooted in Spanish history represents the heart and soul of traditional religious beliefs in 17th 18th and 19th century Mexican culture The oldest documented New Mexican retablos date to the 1780s Some retablos were painted by academically trained artists but the majority of these pieces weren t The themes are usually of Christ the Virgin Mary the Holy Family male and female saints or archangels and votive images The numerous saints depicted in these artworks were thought to remedy a variety of problems that people faced on a daily basis New Mexican retablos are distinctive in their bold use of simple lines and color The Spanish initially introduced the retablo art form as a means to convert Native Americans to Catholicism as the Church relied heavily upon the standard use of symbols and motifs to help identify and teach the stories of the saints The process flourished in post conquest Mexico and then ultimately reached its pinnacle of popularity with the introduction of inexpensive mediums in the latter part of the 19th century These oil paintings were found in markets or shops near pilgrimage sites and were sold to devout believers The featured icon on the library s retablo is said to be that of St Peter of Alcantara St Peter of Alcantara 1499 1562 was a contemporary of well known 16th century Spanish saints He served as confessor to St Teresa of Avila promoted Carmelite reform and directed most of his energies toward church reform a major issue of that time period Peter was born into a noble family in Alcantara Spain and studied law at Salamanca University At age sixteen he joined the so called Observant Franciscans where his penitential side to food

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2010/04-retablo/retablo.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    For a myriad of reasons mustaches were grown in all shapes and sizes and the amount of stiff pomade that was required to hold the hairs in place led to drawing room disasters When attending social functions and afternoon teas two problems arose Steam from the hot beverages melted the mustache wax and sent it dribbling down the chin often streaked with dye right into the cup along with the by then drooping mustache The other dilemma was that strong coffees and teas often stained and discolored the bottoms of many mustaches It wasn t until 1830 that an English potter named Harvey Adams maker s mark HA Co introduced the first mustache cup The cup had a ledge called a mustache guard that stretched across the inside of the cup from rim to rim The guard had one semicircular opening against the rim of the cup to allow the user s mustache to rest safely on the mustache guard The invention of the mustache cup spread over Europe until most potters featured a product with a similar design Between the years 1850 1900 famous manufacturers such as Meissen Royal Crown Derby Imari Royal Bayreuth Limoges and others created their own versions of this masculine tableware Mustache cups were made from earthenware porcelain stoneware tin and silver plates and came in many shapes and sizes ranging from tiny demitasse cups to large farmer s cups holding up to a quart of liquid Potters created mustache cups which featured landscapes hunting scenes animals and birds flowers and interesting geometric designs Portrait mustache cups were rare and highly desirable Many mustache cups especially those made in Germany had luster grounds which were Victorian favorites During the early years of production mustache cups and saucers were sold as individual items often ordered by

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2010/05-cup/cups.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    was later stationed in Parang Philippine Islands where skirmishes between government and armed troops still ensued after the Philippine American War The barong on display was collected in 1914 by Lt Walker The sword has one bullet hole in the center of the blade and has the indentation of another bullet closer to the edge The barong sword is one of several significant weapons of the Moros in the southern Philippines The blade of the barong is very thick and heavy and generally tends to range from 18 to 24 inches in length This combination makes the sword highly effective at slicing and chopping a variety of objects It has become legendary for being able to cut through the barrels of muskets and rifles including M 14 rifles making the Moro a formidable opponent The handle of the sword known as the hilt commonly has a silver or brass sleeve which is lacquered with braided fiber rings that create an excellent grip and allow for better control over the weapon Its classically shaped down turned handle makes it appear similar to a machete The hilts of barong swords used by nobles were made of ivory water buffalo horn or Philippine ebony The common design of the hilt was crafted in the shape of a cockatoo but several are known to have serpent characteristics The counterweight of the hilt is called a pommel Most barong pommels tend to be made from a local wood called banati bunti or rosewood The Moros a Muslim Filipino group live primarily in the South Philippines on the Sulu Archipelago an island chain between the Philippines and the Island of Borneo It is believed that their ancestors traveled to the Sulu Archipelago from the northeast as a result of the expansion of Chinese trade in the

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2010/06-barong/barong.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    in 1965 when the Niigata Galveston Committee was formed Galveston has six sister cities designated by Sister Cities International Armavir Armenia Trivandrum India Veracruz Mexico Stavanger Norway Niigata Japan and Tamsui Taiwan New Orleans is also considered an informal sister city of Galveston because of the two cities cultural and historical similarities Niigata Japan established in 1889 as a port of call for Japanese trade ships travelling the Sea of Japan lies on the northwest coast of Honshu the largest island of Japan A windy and humid city with a population of 810 000 Niigata is still an important port for the shipment of rice and a bustling railroad hub just as Galveston was an important cotton port and railroad hub for much of its history The term Niigata literally translates to new lagoon and the city is often called the City of Water because several rivers marshlands canals and the Japan Sea traverse its borders Because Niigata like Galveston sits at a low elevation flood control and land reclamation issues are important focuses of the city In recent years Niigata has been promoting itself as Japan s Designated City of Food and Flowers to highlight the region s agricultural resources and the city s rich cultural history The ceremonial Key to the City is an ornamental key which is presented to esteemed visitors residents or other communities a city wishes to honor Receiving a Key to the City is a privilege The tradition originates from medieval times when cities were surrounded by walls with only a few gated entrances The key symbolizes the freedom of the recipient to enter the city at will as a trusted friend of the community The City of Niigata has been very charitable to Galveston since the beginning of the sister city affiliation Niigata

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2010/07-key/key.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    and a mechanical tuning machine to accommodate either four or six pairs of metal strings Because of its smaller size and higher pitch the mandolin uses paired strings as opposed to guitars which only require single strings to provide a fuller and more continuous sound Neapolitan mandolins evolved in Naples Italy from the mandore a soprano lute in the early seventeenth and eighteenth centuries They are informally called tater bugs in the U S because of their resemblance to the potato bug Mandolins enjoyed great popularity in Europe in the 1850s in vogue with exotic instruments like zithers and ukuleles but their greatest popularity emerged as Italian immigrants arrived on the east coast in the late 1800s By 1897 Chicago based Montgomery Ward s catalog boasted its phenomenal growth in mandolin trade while another Chicago manufacturer Lyon and Healy proclaimed At any time you can find in our factory upwards of 10 000 mandolins in various stages of construction Mandolin orchestras formed at schools and colleges and mandolin ensembles toured the vaudeville circuit Shop girls who couldn t afford mandolins were often said to carry mandolin cases around town to give the impression they were Society Ladies trained in music In Galveston mandolin orchestras first emerged in the late 1800s Professor Tilbery of Paris placed ads in the Galveston Daily News seeking students for his Mandolin Band The Young Ladies Mandolin Club formed in the early 1900s while the B G G Mandolin Club met at the YMCA Devour s Mandolin Orchestra was Galveston s largest mandolin orchestra in the 1920s Radio station WFAA even hosted weekly recordings of The Mandolin Club in 1927 After World War I popularity of the mandolin waned as ragtime and jazz grabbed the attention of American audiences The instrument remained popular in Italian communities

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2010/08-mandolin/mandolin.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    with elaborate patterns of landscapes coats of arms religious symbols or the honeycomb grid pattern we know today Dutch pilgrims brought waffle irons to America in the 1620s In the late 1700s Thomas Jefferson brought a waffle iron back as a souvenir from his travels in France Waffle frolics were then organized by the well to do where party guests enjoyed waffles topped with fruits maple syrup or meat and kidney stew In 1881 Mrs Abby Fisher published What Mrs Fisher Knows about Old Southern Cooking This cookbook the first cookbook written by an African American included recipes for waffles and fried chicken a food combination still enjoyed by all true Southerners today The first patented waffle iron was designed by Cornelius Swarthout in 1869 His design included a swivel hinge in a cast iron collar that joined two embossed iron plates In 1911 General Electric rolled the first fully electric waffle irons off the assembly line complete with built in thermostats to prevent overheating The double waffle iron was then on the market in 1926 and was the basis for most waffle irons today including 1939 s iconic Twin O Matic waffle iron Frozen waffles including Eggo s Leggo My Eggo waffles were available in grocery stores by 1953 The Belgian waffle a thicker and fluffier waffle than the traditional American waffle was brought to the states in 1964 at the New York World s Fair Waffles were highly regarded in Texas because they could easily be prepared without the use of stoves a blessing during hot summer months Waffle irons were used to make waffles for breakfast cornbread for lunch and ginger bread for after dinner dessert Recipes and waffle iron tips frequently ran in The Galveston Daily News section Suggestions for Thrifty Housewives in the 1930s and

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2010/09-waffle/waffle.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    Asia or the Middle East These swords are important elements of these Middle Eastern cultures notably Indian Turkish and Saudi Arabian cultures as well as Oriental and even British and American cultures The term scimitar itself has been part of the English language since 1548 Derived from the French cimiterre and the Italian scimitarra scimitar is a well known word in most Middle Eastern languages It is believed that it and the sword that bears its name is descended from the Persian word shafsher meaning lion s claw that is also attributed to an ancient Persian curved sword known as a shamshir However controversy still surrounds the origins of the scimitar Some believe the blades originated in Ancient Egypt in 1600 BCE as a khopesh a hybrid weapon of sickle and sword The scimitar may have also evolved from the Mongolian saber which in turn developed from the Chinese broadsword making the scimitar s origins more relative to the curved blades of the Orient Scimitars were heavily used during the Mongolian invasions of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries These invasions influenced the Ottoman Turks to begin using a unique scimitar known as a kilj in the fifteenth century The Napoleonic Wars of the late 19th century brought the blade to the attention of Europeans and the kilj became popular among senior French and British officers After the First Barbary Wars U S Marines were presented with bejeweled kiljs or as they are known in the U S mameluke swords Mameluke swords are still presented to U S Marines as dress swords Cutlasses the famed swords of the high seas favored by pirates and privateers alike are shorter and broader scimitars that are well suited for close combat They were used by British cavalry soldiers as well for their compact size

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2010/10-scimitar/scimitar.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    cream allows the butter to clump together to produce butter grains The butter grains are then kneaded to remove any remaining liquid known as buttermilk and consolidate the grains into one deliciously spreadable mass In antiquity butter had many uses beyond its current condiment status Butter was eaten was used as illumination oil used for medicinal purposes and rubbed on skin as insulation from bitter cold The all purpose substance was brought to Southern Asia through conquest and colonization via horseback by 2000 BC from the Fertile Crescent area of southern Mesopotamia present day Iraq In the 17th and 18th centuries Ireland was the major exporter of the product to northern Europe and the Americas It was common practice in Ireland to pack butter into barrels or firkins and bury them in peat bogs Bog butter was praised for its strong flavor as it aged and remained edible in this peculiar environment thanks to the antiseptic and acidic qualities of the bog Many of these firkins are still being found today and can be viewed within Irish history museums The Industrial Revolution made the Irish method obsolete but butter making is still a cherished tradition and a major export of the Emerald Isle Butter churns devices which help to agitate the cream and knead the butter grains come in many shapes and sizes and have sometimes even been used for unconventional purposes The oldest form of butter churn is the rocker churn Made of goat skin bags gourds or even glass jars these simple vessels have been used to agitate cream for thousands of years and were operated via shaking or rocking hence the name Paddle churns such as the one on display were glass or wooden containers with interior paddles operated by an outside handle During the Civil War

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2010/11-churn/churn.htm (2016-04-26)
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