Thursday, November 30, 2017

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Large Berets

For those who find a "Tarte" Alpin is not quite big enough, there is hope.
Various festivals in France, Spain and South America celebrate the beret, often by outdoing a record sized model (again, and again...).
Top two photo's are in Ayacucho, Argentina during a Basque Festival.
These pictures depict a French Blancq-Olibet beret (PeBeO label), during the Beret Festival in Nay. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Vintage French Cartoon

A Basque beret won't do for you... I would recommend a top hat.

Sunday, November 26, 2017


The trikiti or eskusoinu txiki ("little hand-sound") is a two-row Basque diatonic button accordion with right-hand rows keyed a fifth apart and twelve unisonoric bass buttons.
The onomatopoeia trikiti, apparently stemming from the sound emitted by the tambourine, originally referred to a traditional Basque ensemble, made up of the instrument which now bears the name as well as alboka, txistu and other instruments.
Probably introduced by French or Italian immigrants coming from the Alps, the trikiti's first written evidence is attested late in the 19th century, exactly in 1889, when diatonic accordion was used for music in a popular pilgrimage festivity of Urkiola (Biscay).
The pair of diatonic button accordion along with tambourine gradually grew in popularity and was adopted to perform in local and popular festivities, where the young danced to its tunes (fandangos, arin-arin etc.), despite the Catholic Church's resistance, who dubbed it "hell's bellows" on the grounds that its dance-inciting and lively music would lead Basque youths into temptation.

Saturday, November 25, 2017


Human beekeeping or apiculture has been practised for millennia, since at least the times of Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece. Apart from honey and pollination, honey bees produce beeswax, royal jelly and propolis. 
Bees have appeared in mythology and folklore, through all phases of art and literature, from ancient times to the present day, though primarily focused in the Northern Hemisphere, where beekeeping is far more common.
Honey is a natural product produced by bees and stored for their own use, but its sweetness has always appealed to humans. Before domestication of bees was even attempted, humans were raiding their nests for their honey. 
Smoke was often used to subdue the bees and such activities are depicted in rock paintings in Spain which have been dated to 15,000 BC.
Woman gathering honey, - Mesolithic (c. 10,000/8000–c. 3000 bce) Cueva de la Arana, near Bicorp, Spain; Museum of Prehistory, Valencia, Spain.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Janessa Leoné

Surfing the net, I sometimes surprise myself by finding a new beret manufacturer. If that is what it says it is, of course...
Like this supposedly US made brand: Janessa Leoné. In the company's own words: "Janessa Leoné is an elevated accessories label based in Los Angeles."
"The brand creates sophisticated pieces with a focus on timeless, minimal designs that are both unique and classic. Each line is hand made using a consistent foundation of the highest quality material- yielding pieces that can be worn through many seasons. Established in 2013, Janessa Leoné offers hats and handbags which have become a favorite among celebrities and influencers."
However, when I see the closing line of the beret advertised on Janessa Leoné's website, I have serious doubts about the quality of these (handmade?) berets selling at $180.00.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Tōyō Miyatake

Tōyō Miyatake (1895–1979) was a Japanese American photographer, best known for his photographs documenting the Japanese American people and the Japanese American internment at Manzanar during World War II.

Miyatake was born in Kagawa, Shikoku in Japan in 1895. In 1909 he migrated to the United States to join his father. He settled in the Little Tokyo section of Los Angeles, California.
With an interest in arts — most notably photography—  Miyatake began associating with the local arts community. In 1923 he bought his photo studio. Miyatake encouraged fellow photographer Edward Weston to exhibit his work and Miyatake is credited as giving Weston his first gallery showing.
During World War II Miyatake was incarcerated at Manzanar in the Owens Valley. He smuggled a camera lens into the camp and constructed a camera body from wood. The pictures he secretly took at the camp are among the relatively few that show the plight of the U.S. citizen inmates.
Thanks Heath

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Marius van Dokkum (2)

Following the post on Dutch painter/illustrator/author Marius van Dokkum on 20 November here a portrait of the master by photographer Hans Mantel.
A double-beret (or "alpinopet" in our native Dutch). 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Jan Burger

Painting (by Marius van Dokkum) of the Dutch writer and composer Jan Burger (aka "King of the
Dunes") who lives by himself in a house in the dunes near Egmond, cherishing his friendship with the animals living around him.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Marius van Dokkum and Opa Jan

Marius van Dokkum, born in 1957 in Andijk (Netherlands), studied at the Christian Academy for Expressive Art in Kampen, with principle subject Illustration.
After the academy he settled in Apeldoorn, where he is still working as art painter, illustrator and designer. His painting consist of still lifes, portraits and general subjects. The general subjects often have something humorous about them.
Van Dokkum is also author and illustrator of the Opa Jan series of children books, a messy rebellious grandfather who is never without his beret!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Louis Toffoli

Louis Toffoli was a painter who was born in Trieste (Italy) in 1907 from an Italian father and a Slovenian mother. 
Due to changing borders and the rise of fascism in Italy he acquired Austro-Hungarian, Italian and French citizenship over his lifetime and was therefore European before the letter.
He signed his paintings neither Luigi nor Louis, but only Toffoli.
Louis Toffoli studied art at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Trieste in 1924. In 1928 he exhibited his paintings in that city and was promptly condemned by Mussolini's fascist regime.
Two years later Toffoli emigrated to Paris and began regularly exhibiting at the Salon d'Automne, Salon des Independants, Salon des Peintres Temoins de leur Temps and elsewhere. With the outbreak of the Second World War (1939-1945) Louis Toffoli sought refuge in the countryside of Touraine and worked for the French Resistance. After the war he returned to Paris and received his French citizenship in 1947. 

Toffoli died in Paris, 1999.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Makhila in Aquarelle

These early 19th century watercolours (artist unknown) depict a Basque man with his makhila. 
The makhila is a traditional Basque walking stick, and is notable as both a practical tool and a cultural symbol of authority and strength.
The makila walking stick consists of an engraved medlar wood shaft cut to a length to suit its owner, generally either hipbone or sternum-height. The bottom is often shod with steel or other metal and ends in a ferrule (blunt spike for traction).
The handle is also often covered with metal or woven leather to form a hand-grip, with a lanyard attached to the bottom of this grip. The stick is capped with a flattened knob or pommel, made of horn, steel, or bronze. 
The top portion consisting of the knob and hand-grip can be pulled off the top of the stick, revealing a hidden spike or blade, which effectively turns the stick into a short spear. The pommel's shape resembles the beret worn by the Basque shepherd.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Fake Bakarra Berets

The ‘Bakarra’ is an old label by former manufacturer Blancq-Olibet and now owned and used by Laulhère.
The beret and label look like pretty good imitations, but the detail in the label gives it away. Also, the textile label of the original will have the official importer’s name printed on it. 
There are suggestions that even Brazilian government agencies fell for it and have purchased fake Bakarra military berets (undoubtedly making money disappear in someone's pocket).