Edinburgh Local

Object of the month: Gaita gallega (Galician bagpipes)

Every month we feature a fascinating object that's on display in one of the University's museums and galleries. You're invited to come along to the exhibition and see it for yourself!

Gaita gallega (Galician bagpipes)
Gaita gallega (Galician bagpipes)

From 5 April, these intriguing Galician bagpipes will be on display in the Main Library’s latest exhibition Conectando: Scottish Encounters with Spanish & Portuguese.

Celebrating 100 years of the Spanish degree at Edinburgh, this exhibition explores the cultural, educational and political connections between Scotland and Spain, Portugal and Latin America. Through the themes of Learning, Student Experience, Solidarity, Journeys and Treasures, we tell the story of how Edinburgh students, staff and the wider Scottish community have connected with the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking worlds.

The pipes are traditionally played in Galicia in North-West Spain, and in Northern Portugal. With their tartan-like bag, they provide a neat visual symbol of the cultural connections traced in the exhibition. Historical engravings depicting the Spanish and Portuguese arriving in America and Africa frequently include musicians. In fact, bagpipes were amongst the instruments they used when making initial contact with people of other cultures. You can spot them in the 17th century General History of Upper Ethiopia which is also on display.

Other exhibition highlights include Pablo Picasso Going to the Fair, the only pre-1906 work on paper by the artist in a public Scottish collection; portraits of, and recorded interviews with, George Drever and John Dunlop, two University alumni who fought in the Spanish Civil War; Scottish translations of the classic Spanish tale Don Quixote; and 18th century Portuguese phrasebooks – should you ever need ‘to your innkeeper to comb your wig’!

'Conectando: Scottish Encounters with Spanish & Portuguese' is open 5 April-29 June 2019, Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm. Admission free.

University of Edinburgh Main Library Exhibition Gallery (Ground Floor), George Square, EH8 9LJ. https://exhibitions.ed.ac.uk @UoE_Exhibitions #Conectando #SPLASEd100

By Kirsty MacNab (Exhibitions Officer)