A Monument Jaime Iregui
Some 50 years ago the Museo de Antioquia (Medellin, Colombia) received a very special donation. It consisted of 60 items that a high society woman from the city of Medellin had collected during four decades of travel through Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
Until very recently, the donation had rested in a wooden cabinet in the museum’s depository. It seems that it was exhibited for a time in display cases in the Medellin Zoo, which is under the purview of the Museo Zea.
The donation comprised a collection of bits of monuments that this traveler had accumulated over time. Everything seems to indicate that in every museum or place of historical importance, she “took” a fragment, be it of the building itself, or of the exhibited objects, especially of curtains and furniture.
It was her way of possessing the world. It was a secret ritual that “deprived” monuments of small fragments. And this is not so different from the way many museums have taken shape: with bits of culture from invaded territories (Egypt, Greece, Babylon, South America, etc.), war treasures, and various booty.
This collection of private monuments is currently exhibited in the rooms of the Museo de Antioquia, as part of its historical script of the 19th and 20th centuries. It can be found a few steps away from the room devoted to the founder of the museum, Don Manuel Uribe Ángel, where a few of the first pieces from his collection are showcased, among which are parts of animals that Uribe Ángel accumulated during his explorations of the animal kingdom: “various snake fangs, eleven mice from one birth,” and “the nail of a large beast.”
The following is a list of fragments of monuments compiled from the descriptions the lady wrote (by hand and on a typewriter) on each of the cards accompanying the pieces:
01. Piece of a sofa found in the room where Victor Hugo died, Paris.
02. Very old piece of canvas from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. It belongs to the Armenians; the painting showed combat between the Persians and the Chaldeans.
03. Fragment of the Pool of Bethesda, Jerusalem.
04. Fragment of the Parthenon, Athens.
05. Rope from the funeral car of the emperors in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna.
06. Stone from the Acropolis, Athens.
07. Fragment of a cape used to officiate the wedding of Mary Stuart, Paris.
08. Stone from the spot where the Battle of Saladin against the Crusaders took place.
09. Small piece of wood from Saint Mark’s prison, Italy.
10. Piece of the house of Prince Carlos, son of Philip II, El Escorial, Madrid.
11. Piece of the Pantheon, from the wreath of Victor Hugo, Paris.
12. Part of the carriage used to take the princes of Spain to be baptized, Madrid.
13. Fragment of the Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas, Burgos.
14. Piece of the room where Josephine died in Malmaison, Versailles.
15. Slab of stone from the castle where Madame de Staël lived.
16. Part of the Gobelin tapestries which cover the Grand Master’s Palace, Malta.
17. Fragments of wood from the castle where Charles V was held prisoner, Vincennes.
18. Fragment of Alfonso XIII’s saddle, Madrid.
19. Golden tassel from the room where the empress Josephine died in Malmaison.
20. Rope from the chair in the room where the empress Eugenia, wife of Napoleon III, was born, Seville.
22. Fragment of an orange tree planted by Fernando I at the Alcázar of Seville.
23. Piece of the seat where Voltaire sat. Musée Carnavalet, Paris.
24. Rope from the tomb of Fra Angelico, Rome.
26. Tassel from the dining room curtain in the palace that belonged to Pedro and Teresa Cristina, Río de Janeiro.
27. Fragment of wood from the prison in the Doge’s Palace, Venice.
28. Fragment of the wreath of Sadi Carnot, former president of the French Republic, Paris.
29. Two pieces from the tomb of Clement VI, Avignon.
30. Wood from Bolívar’s table, Museo de Lima.
31. Rope from the bed where Napoleon died on Saint Helena.
32. Rope from the room where emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria died in Schönbrunn Palace.
33. Flower from the tomb of Frederick I, Berlin.
34. Stone from the Roman Pantheon.
35. Fragment of a cypress planted at the university by Francisco José de Caldas, Popayán.
36. Piece of a curtain from the king’s box in the Escala Theater, Milan.
37. Tassel from the curtains in Maximilian I and Charlotte’s palace, Mexico.
38. Stone from the Battle of Bárbula.
39. Part of the fabric covering the folding bed that belonged to Bolívar, Lima.
40. Three fragments from chairs in Westminster Cathedral, London.
41. From the tomb of Ludmila, mother of King Saint Wenceslas, Prague.
42. Piece from Madame de Staël’s bed, Switzerland.
43. Porous rock.
44. Piece of the paving from Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome.
45. Stone from Aventine Hill in Rome where Bolívar made his vow.
46. Piece of wood from the room housing the chest of El Cid Campeador.
47. Stone from the ruins of Nero’s Palace.
48. From the Greek theater of Villa Adriana, Tivoli.
49. Stone from the Sforzesco Castle, Milan.
50. From the Bridge of Sighs, Venice.
51. Stone from the Sagrada Familia Church, Barcelona.
52. Stone from El Escorial.
53. Stone from the Muhammad Ali Mosque, Cairo.
54. Stone from a synagogue.
55. Stone from the Coliseum, Rome.
56. Stone from Saint Mark’s Basilica.
57. From the tombs of the Catholic Monarchs, Granada.
58. Stone from the corridor of Bolívar’s house.
59. Stone from Hattin.
60. Stone from the column of the church made by San Notingem in Bethlehem.
I / Fragment of a monument. The card bears the inscription: “140. Very old piece of canvas from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. It belongs to the Armenians, the painting depicted combat between the Persians and the Chaldeans.”