Located in the old Convent of San José, in the area known as Granero de las Monjas (17th century), the FORMMA Museum (Museum of La Mancha Ceramics) exhibits a wide sample of pieces from the main pottery centers of the region of La Mancha. Barreros, cantareros, cantarilleras, tinajeros, alcauceros, cacharreros and tejeros molded the clay for centuries to achieve the optimum shape to meet every need of the house, the countryside, and everyday life.
The museum has three floors, each dedicated to a different theme of La Mancha ceramics:Show more content
Semibasement, MANOS CREADORAS.
Here we can learn about the pottery production process, where the technological aspects of La Mancha clay are represented.
In the semi-basement, CREATIVE HANDS, we find a first panel dedicated to the extraction and manipulation of clay, where, with the title from dust to clay, it talks about extracting the clay, drying and crumbling, purifying and treading and kneading. Also included are the common tools used in this process: seron, garrucha, sera,… and also a sample of the three types of earth for pottery in the region: calcareous clay for water pottery, ochre clay for fire pottery and siliceous clay for fire and water pottery.
A second panel with the title architecture in clay, points out the importance of the use of clay in the architecture of La Mancha as a construction material both in raw work (adobes and tapiales) and in fired work (tiles, tiles and bricks). It is worth mentioning that period photos have been included, showing the elaboration of the raw work, and also, with sequenced photos, the manufacture of tiles in Villafranca, as well as the necessary tools for it: stay, galapago, rack, frames for tiles and bricks…
A third and fourth panel is dedicated to techniques, where it is pointed out that La Mancha is the only region of the Iberian Peninsula where we find the three basic techniques in pottery modeling, along with the explanation of each technique, which we explain, there is an explanatory photo of the period, as well as instruments and antique pieces produced with each of these techniques.
A fifth panel is dedicated to cooking, where technique and ritual are discussed. The two types of ovens, covered ovens and uncovered ovens, are also discussed. Finally, under the heading when something goes wrong, different techniques used by the potters to repair the pieces that came out of the kiln deteriorated are included.
The sixth and seventh panels are dedicated to the sale and repair of the pots and pans. Regarding the sale, there is talk of the figure of the resellers who were intermediaries, of the potters themselves who were also dedicated to the sale, and also the figure of the rag-pickers, who took advantage of the opportunity that the professional potters could reach all points, to change pots for skins, rags, soles of espadrilles and other used objects that were then resold for recycling. It also speaks of a curious character of the rural society of La Mancha, the lañaor, which was justified because when the pots suffered breakage they were kept to be repaired by this professional, who with a manual trumpet made holes on each side of the crack and applied iron reeds, covering the cracks with lime, so that the pot could continue to be used.
Finally, at the back of the semi-basement is the audiovisual room, where a 5-minute video on La Mancha pottery is projected, an interesting document that shows the human side (artisans) of La Mancha pottery, as well as its folklore and production.
Mezzanine, OF ALL IN MUD
It gathers the repertoire and typologies in ceramics: for fire and cooking (the vedriao), for liquids (vessels for water, wine and milk) and special pieces for playing and other uses.
The empotro or mezzanine is characterized by a timbered passageway that leaves a central hollow that opens onto the semi-basement floor. It classifies La Mancha pottery forms into three groups:
For fire and cooking (vedriao). They are vessels coated with a layer of lead glaze, hence the popular name of vedriao, which conferred a greater refractory and hygienic character to the pieces oriented to the kitchen. There are included pucheros, to be placed on the fire, botijones to have oil, azumbres which were jugs for water and wine, fountains to serve food, pots to preserve the products of the slaughter of various regional potteries such as Madridejos, Santa Cruz de Mudela, Castellar or Puertollano.
For liquids (vessels for water, wine and milk). Four modalities are distinguished:
- the alcabuz or bucket to draw water from the waterwheel wells (specimens from Membrilla, Santa Cruz, Granátula de Calatrava, Mota del Cuervo…).
- The pitcher, which was used to draw water from the wells and transport it to the houses, there were three types (represented in the museum), the pitcher of Mota del Cuervo, Villarrobledo and Ocaña.
- the botija, was a vessel with an ovoid body, narrow mouth and one or two handles to carry water or wine to the field work (examples from Puertollano, Daimiel, Villafranca, Mota del Cuervo…).
- the milking jar, in other places known as milking vase, was used by the shepherds to collect the milk from the milking, they are robust pieces, with a wide base, two handles and a spout to pour the milk (some examples are exhibited in several places in the museum of Villarrobledo, Mota del Cuervo and La Solana).
Tinware (vessels for containment in particular), including productions from Villarrobledo, La Solana, Mota del Cuervo, and even in other sections pieces made by the tinners such as curbstones for wells or earthenware tubs. The pieces of tinware are hung by a metal rope from the ceiling.
Special pieces (for playing and other uses), where clay toys and other materials are collected. Singing troughs, tinajillas, spinning tops… as well as special pieces such as a wedding pot, a piggy bank or piggy bank, clay eating tables…
Top floor, AT HOME AND IN THE FIELD.
This floor is dedicated to the daily uses of these objects, both in domestic chores and in the field (grazing, pig slaughtering, olive growing, viticulture and cereal production).
On the upper floor. AT HOME AND IN THE FIELD, we distinguish two clearly differentiated areas, the use of clay in domestic chores and the use of clay in field chores.
In the area of domestic chores, right next to the staircase we find the representation of the kitchen, the courtyard and the corral. In the kitchen, inside a glass cabinet, the cupboard is reproduced, where the glazed earthenware pots were kept, pots and jugs or azumbres de Consuegra, jugs, wooden sink with two basins to wash the pots, jar for water. In the courtyard, a whole series of pieces for washing clothes are collected, such as tailors, wash basins, clay slabs for scrubbing clothes. In the corral we found a bathtub from La Solana as well as a well curbstone from Villarrobledo.
In the area of farm work, we clearly distinguish different areas, illustrated with period photos that show people using the containers represented in the museum:
– The shepherding, where a whole series of utensils for the manufacture of Manchego cheese are collected, wood (entremiso), vegetable matter (esparto grass belts) and clay (milking jars, etc.).
– the orchard, where a period photo shows a waterwheel with its corresponding buckets, and next to this photo three of these examples, one from Consuegra, another from Villafranca and another from Mota del Cuervo.
– pig slaughteringwhere the various utensils for its production are collected, with the slaughterer’s sportillo with all the tools and various vessels for making and preserving the sausages, such as lebrillas for blood from Villarrobledo and La Mota, a daggerboard from Chinchilla, a búcaro from Mota del Cuervo.
– olive growing, including a vat to keep the oil in the cellars, as well as vats to preserve olives.
– the saffron, where the burners or clay toasters are collected to toast the saffron after picking the rose and separating the cloves to toast them and use them in the culinary field.
– viticulture, where various earthenware utensils for the manufacture and preservation of wine are collected: vinegar jar from Villarrobledo, colaor de remostar from El Toboso, colaor de trasegar from Villarrobledo…
– the cereal cyclewhere fiberglass is reproduced a donkey with its watering cans loaded with the typical water jugs where water was carried to the reapers, as well as a jug to drink the wine during the harvest and a clay conch shell as a trumpet used by the reapers to mark the different times of the harvest. At the back of the floor there is a large room for temporary exhibitions, and further back, a ceramics workshop, with a small library and a storage area for the pieces not on display.
The collection, donated by Jesús María Lizcano Tejado, includes farming implements, esparto grass objects, agricultural furniture and antique utensils and images, which allow us to learn about the old ways of life in La Mancha, which have survived until very recent times due to the broad rural base and the late industrialization of this land.