Treasures of the Sea: Art Before Craft. An Introduction = Tesoros del mar: ¿el arte antes de la destreza?. Introducción

Avinoam Shalem


El mar, como un embrión o un feto, parece representar «una especie de primera  fase en el desarrollo  de formas de vida superiores». Su carácter fluido sugiere un periodo temprano del origen de nuestro mundo antes de que el fluido se petrificase.  Se presenta como un cosmos arcaico al que descendemos con el fin de encontrar tesoros ocultos en sus  profundidades.  ¿Cómo pudieron los artesanos trabajar, dar forma e integrar  los distintos materiales marinos en una obra de arte? ¿Qué significados se asociaban a estos materiales ? ¿Cuándo, cómo y por qué se recordaba el origen fluido de estos materiales?
El mar puede considerarse el gran almacén global del mundo, que incluye objetos de carácter especial y ordinario, exhibiendo aspiraciones ambiciosas e inocentes a partes iguales.  Es más, el brillo peculiar de los materiales marinos, como perlas, conchas o pieles de animales, se asociaba normalmente con elementos cósmicos y con ello se resaltaban las características  puras y primarias de estas sustancias.  Los tesoros marinos traspasaban así los límites de lo nacional.  Eran globales.  Y su identidad acuática los hacía universales.
Hablando metafóricamente, el mar, como objeto, tiene cuerpo, forma e incluso cara y queda enmarcado  entre la tierra y el aire.  Esta entidad amorfa tiene un fondo sólido, una superficie superior, es decir su cara, toca el aire y sus muros luchan constantemente contra cuerpos sólidos  como rocas y piedras. Además, se desconocen sus profundidades.  Ahí, en el corazón de la oscuridad,  reside la inconsciencia.Este ensayo introductorio pretende abrir la llamada «Caja de Pandora»  del ámbito de los mares.  Nos presenta el gran potencial de este espacio al proporcionarnos grandes cantidades de información histórica,  normalmente «oculta»,  como si estuviese cubierta por agua.

The sea, like an embryo or a foetus, seems to represent «a sort of first stage in the advancement of superior life forms». Its fluid character suggests an early age of our world’s foundation, before fluid turns to stone. It appears as an archaic cosmos into which one descends in order to find hidden treasures in its depths. How did artisans work, shape, and integrate the varied materials of the sea into an artistic oeuvre? Which meanings were attached to these materials? When, how and why were the materials’ fluid origin remembered?
The sea can be considered the great global depot of the world, which includes objects of both great and ordinary character, illustrating ambitious and innocent aspirations to an equal extent. Moreover, the particular shininess of the oceanic materials, like pearls, shells or animals’ skins, was usually associated with cosmic elements and thus emphasizes the pure and primal characters of these substances.
The treasures of the sea were therefore beyond national. They were global. And their aquatic identity made them universal.
Metaphorically speaking, the sea, as an object, has body, shape and even face, and is demarcated by earth and air. This amorphous entity has a solid bottom, its upper surface, namely face, touches the air, and its walls constantly struggle against solid substances such as rock and stone. In addition, its depths are unknown. There, in the heart of darkness, unconsciousness resides.
This introductory essay aims at opening the so-called ’Pandora Box’ of the fluid realm of the seas. It presents this space’s great potential in providing us with vast amounts of historical information, usually ‘lying concealed’, as if under the water.

Palabras clave

Arqueología submarina; conocimientos cosmológicos; criaturas marinas; perlas; conchas; caparazones de tortuga; cristal de roca = Under-water archaeology; Cosmological Knowledge; Sea creatures; Pearls; Shells; Corals; Tortoise shells; Rock crystals.

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