Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ruth Cardoso, in memoriam

Ruth Cardoso, ex-president Henrique Cardoso's wife, died at their apartment in São Paulo this morning. I had the pleasure of accompanying her on a visit to the Museum for the Preservation of Indigenous Arts in Alter do Chão back in 1997. Indigenous art isn't exactly my cup of tea, but David Richardson, owner of the museum, was away and asked me the favor. It turned out to be an easy task because Ruth Cardoso didn't need a lot of explanations. She was well versed in the subject matter. I made mention of the visit in my book, Santarém - Riverboat Town.

"On occasion, visitors ask where they can purchase gold nuggets, or gold jewelry. As a matter of fact, Santarém boasts several outstanding goldsmiths, but most of them work on a custom-made basis for their clients. Thus, it is not easy to find a shop with any great selection of pieces from which to purchase on the spot. The closest is Joalheria João Sena, located in downtown Santarém on Travessa 15 de Agosto. An item of special interest is a flat gold pendant representing the legendary Muiraquitã, a frog amulet. João Sena, one of the most skilled goldsmiths in Santarém, makes diverse gold-crafted pendants portraying both Tapajônica and Marajoara designs. Ouro is ouro and the Brazilian standard for jewelry is 18 karat, so do not be surprised if prices reflect these little details. It is noteworthy to mention that when the Primeira Dama (first lady) of Brazil, Dona Ruth Cardoso, visited Santarém in 1997; the gift presented to her by Santarenos was none other than that of a gold muiraquitã pendant. She was thrilled, as she should have been, for she is an anthropologist. " Image: replica of an indigenous mask in front of the old Museum for the Preservation of Indigenous Arts.


Claudio said...

The right name is CARDOSO. Please,delete A and put O.

Steven Alexander said...

Claúdio, many thanks. It's the classic gringo mistake of not knowing when to use "a" or "o". No excuse for this one.

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

It's wonderful that you have such a good knowledge of history there. Fascinating.

Steven Alexander said...

Cláudio, another gringo mistake is not knowing where to place accent marks!