It has been said that the history of humanity is based on the stories that our ancestors have bequeathed to us, quite often represented by funerary monuments, by cults to the dead, and in the ceremonies dedicated to the same.
According to this thesis, the “Museu de Carrosses Fúnebres de Barcelona” represents not just the uses and customs that the Spanish dedicated to funerary ceremonies during the last third of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, but the mindset of the Spanish people themselves.
Apart from the funerary carriages, a series of different horse-drawn escort vehicles that accompanied the hearses are on view, and represent the forbearers of the current escort vehicles used for funerals, the black sedan in horse form. Amongst these one grand carriage stands out, entirely lined in black fabric, which was used by the widows. This gloomy funerary ambience was meant to induce a state of mourning, which–considering they were widows–wouldn’t seem to need inducing.
The Museum is overflowing with iconographic displays of mortality, which apart from being represented by the Christian Cross, are present in all the carriages illustrating the diverse manners that the transition between life and death is exemplified. Among the symbols are the Greek letters alpha and omega reflecting the beginning and end, many sculpted angels along with stained glass and hourglasses reflecting the limitation of man’s life.
Quite common as well is the figure of the owl, which on one hand represents solitude and silence, as death itself; and, on the other hand, wisdom, which linked to the Greek Goddess Athena, presupposes that man encounters true wisdom in the transition between death and the beyond.
One thing which ties all the carriages together is the baroque rococo beauty with which they ushered the dead to their final resting places.
Know Before You Go
Located inside the Montjuïc Cemetery, close to the main entrance. Carrer de la Mare de Déu de Port, 56, 08038 Barcelona Tlf.: +34 934 841 920 The museum is only open Saturdays & Sundays 10:00 am - 2:00 pm.