Protection and Property

Protection and Property: Symbols of Fortune and Family on Andorran Buildings (2021 – 2022)

Around the Pyrenees the act of carving symbols on rural buildings is an ancient one, both to protect the building and to distinguish the owner. In Andorra there are several surviving examples of this on barns, village houses and outbuildings. However, due to their age many of these doors are being replaced or renovated. Over the past few months I have begun surveying the agro-pastoral landscapes of Andorra and its villages in order to document these symbols and marks, including the addition of faunal remains to doors such as Izard feet.

The ‘Protection & Property’ project will, over the next year, produce an archive of all (accessible) buildings in Andorra that possess protection symbols and family marks in the form of a freely downloadable Google Earth map layer, in which each pin, located on the building itself, will contain photographs of the marks. An accompanying essay will be written using comparative examples from across the Pyrenees to explore their potential meanings, as well as identifying which marked buildings traditionally belonged to which Andorran families. If appropriate, this will become the first volume in a monograph series for Mons Culturae Press, which will deal with highly focussed subjects relating to Pyrenean traditions and culture.

Already it has become apparent that many buildings have fresh new doors, lintels and frames, and who knows what marks may have been lost. Before these relics of Andorran and Pyrenean folk-culture vanish from the landscape, this project will create a valuable ethnographic archive of fortune and family symbols from the region.


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