WHAT THIS BLOG IS ABOUT
THE ETHNIC HOME is a non-commercial blog on ethnic arts and antique, vintage, or contemporary high-quality ethnic handicrafts and tribal items.
It is, therefore, a journey through distant cultures in spacetime.
Alexandra David-Néel wrote (or at least, it is said she wrote): Those who travel without meeting the others do not travel. They simply move.
Well, she could write it with a certain degree of expertise: she was one of the greatest explorers and travelers between the late 19th and the early 20th centuries. But she’s not right.
Traveling is not a displacement on the Earth’s surface with a vehicle whatsoever. Traveling is not making tourism and going sightseeing. Not at all.
Traveling is not even meeting the others. It’s meeting each other.
Meeting each other does not amount to a physical encounter.
A physical encounter must acquire human depth to became a human encounter. For this to happen, culture is necessary. Only culture can build bridges between human beings allowing anyone to peer into different people’s universes. Culture, however, is only a necessary condition, not a necessary and sufficient condition. More is needed, of course. What is needed, then? The Spanish-speakers have a unique expression (that has been brutalized by corporate-ESE): don de gente. It has no translation, of course, and it indicates a human attitude made up of empathy, emotional intelligence and compassion. It’s not a quality nor a feeling nor a state of mind. It’s a moral choice.
With this blog, I’d like to help to build “bridges over troubled waters”; to surpass cultural prejudices, biases, and stereotypes; to connect what is perceived or conceived as separated; to help you see an invaluable resource in our human diversity. This is my aim and this aim stems from my personal story.
I was born in a multi-ethnic family which encompassed Catholics, Protestants, and Hebrews, rich and poor people, senior executives and peasants, blue-eyed and black-haired. I was born on a continent, grew up in another, studied in more than four different languages. When I was younger, I felt I belonged to nowhere; moreover, I was an aspie, a maverick, an independent by nature, a multipotentialite, a rebel, the opposite of a docile and compliant person.
In brief, I felt like an alien fallen down on the wrong planet.
Then I started a long journey throughout the world, across cultures, and inside myself: the more I studied, traveled, and experienced, the more I fell in love with this planet, and the more I realized I’m a part of it.
Now, I know where I’m from.
I’m from this planet, my home. Your home.
I can see bridges where others see crevasses, and I’d like to share my gaze with you.
Let’s fill the world with unexpected bridges among spacetime distant cultures, among unrelated disciplines, between decorative or applied arts and “fine arts”, among academic research and pop subcultures. Among people, above all, as we desperately need to meet each other in the commitment to protect our common, colorful, fragile home.
This is also a blog on ethnic, ethical, sustainable, eco-friendly, natural pieces.
At my home, one of the cabinets I’m in love with is an Afghan or Pakistani dowry chest in Himalayan cedar, handmade in the very early 19th century, purchased in the heart of Asia some years ago. It was safely shipped to the European country I’m currently living in by an international carrier at a reasonable cost. It was quite a cheap shipment, as the dowry chest was entirely disassembled before being packed. Once at my home, I cleaned up every single piece of it and re-assembled them without using a single metal piece: no nail, no hinge, no screw. No need for a hammer or a screwdriver: just my hands and those of a helper carpenter. The dowry chest was entirely made of untreated wood, assembled with different kinds of traditional joints, and provided with an ancient closing system without metal parts. Can you imagine a piece more sustainable and more eco-friendly than that? 100% made of unpolished wood, free from every kind of chemical paint or coat. No antique metal parts, no rust. No plastic parts.
I love all items that came to me from the past and are ready to last after me for a few hundred years to come.
Lastly, I hope this blog might become a good source of practical and unbiased information for those of you who want to buy (or sell) an ethnic piece whatsoever, as I think it’s vital for all of us, today, to become well-informed consumers, able to make good and ethical choices.
DO YOU NEED ANY HELP?
Did you inherit from your aunt a tribal mask, a stool, a vase, a rug, an ethnic item you don’t know what it is?
Did you find in a trunk an ethnic mysterious item you don’t even know how to describe?
Would you like to know if it’s worth something or is a worthless souvenir?
Would you like to know what it is exactly and if / how / where you might sell it?