Yesterday, Carlie and I traveled to the small city of Embu, (also known as Embu das Artes) about 40 minutes west of São Paulo.
Embu had its beginning in 1554, when a group of Jesuits founded a small settlement about halfway between the sea and the unexplored interior of Brazil. Their desire was to establish a mission with the objective of teaching the natives about Christianity and at the same time developing a workforce for the ranchers/farmers that would be settling in the area.
In 1607, the lands which encompassed the small settlement were given to Fernão Dias, an uncle to one of the explorers searching for emeralds, which were plentiful in Brazil's interior. In 1624, he donated the village back to the Jesuits, and in about 1690, a church was built in the village. That church, Nossa Senhora do Rosário, still stands, and is pictured below. Carlie and I toured the church (now a museum) and enjoyed the many church relics that are displayed therein. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take any photos within the church.
Over the past forty years, Embu has become well-known for its art exhibits and as a place to buy the creations of a variety of artisans and craftsmen. The pictures below will give you an idea of what happens each weekend in Embu when the town fills with visitors to the small shops and temporary structures that display the artisan's "treasures." In addition, many small restaurants or other food establishments are open for business.
We were especially interested in purchasing a couple of pieces of art with which to decorate our condominium here in São Paulo. In the small praça in the center of Embu (seen below)
I decided to purchase a particular "batik style" painting from a young artist who, among many local artists, was selling her creations. We also visited a very fine art gallery in Embu where Carlie was especially attracted to the creations of Edison Luiz Fagundes de Castro ( pen-name of Edison Lufaac). Our two purchases shown below now adorn our living room walls.
We plan on returning to Embu in the next few months, to explore the many little shops we didn't have time to visit yesterday. And perhaps we will find more things we "just have to have."
Until next time....