Manta Esperancera

La Manta Esperancera

Many are the historical references that exist about “la manta esperancera” that used to be used by the canary preasants as a dress pledge. the cold of the humid and high zones of the island created a curious phenomenon; that the blanket, normally imported from England, passed from the beds to a clothing for the men of the countryside.


“An image of the snowy Teide, conserved in my memories, the most warm canary embrace with semlls of father and grandpa”

The root of the utilization of this clothes started with the strongest contacts of a commercial type that existed between Canaries and England and with the habitual importation of the “manta esperancera”, that was a natural white colour from the wool, with stripes colour blue near the extremes. There were raincoats, that were a great ally against the rain and the cold. “La manta” was folded in two halves, it was gathered at the neck and was used as a cloak.

Traje de Mago con su Manta Esperancera

John of the Cross refers in his book “Textiles and clothing of Tenerife” A. Diston text that accompanies the lámina “Man of Tacoronte”, his 1824 album reads: “The most striking part of hia outfit is an English blanket folded on a piece of rope tied around his neck. This forms a laver that shields him from the heavy rains that fall in the high dwelling place where he lives and , wrapped in it, spends the night without undressing, lying on the floor of his miserable hut or on a bed of straw. Of all the blankets to Tenerife, not a quarter is used to cover the beds, almost all the farmers take hem as shown here.

The Colon Egg

Girolamo Benzoni in his History of the New World (Venecia, 1565) tells the following history:

While Christopher Columbus was at the table with many Spanish nobles, one of them said: ‘Mr. Columbus, even if your worship had not found the Indies, we wouldn’t have been missing a person who has undertaken similar an adventure similar to yours, here in Spain which is a land rich in great men very knowledgeable in cosmography and literature ‘. Columbus did not respond to these words but, having asked them to bring an egg, she placed it on the table and said, ‘Gentlemen, I bet with anyone that you are not able to stand this egg up as I do, naked, without any help. “They all tried without success and when the egg returned to Columbus he hit it against the table, placing it subtly he left it standing up. All present were confused and understood what he wanted to tell them, that after the deed done and seen, anyone knows how to do it.

From this story comes the popular saying that “Columbus was the first man to … put an egg standing up and that they use the expression “like egg of Columbus” to describe something that seemed complex or difficult and that results easy or straightforward once understood.

Putting the Canary Islands as a witness at the time of this event along with other historical representations, you might recognize some of the steps that occur for any kind of project or company. Studying and preparing, with foreign aid and favorable winds, positive circumstances, conviction and faith, being constant, adventure, with all its challenges and uncertainties included, ultimately, success, satisfaction and reward as a result of the above.

The Manila Shawl

Exquisite and colorful garment which takes its name from the city of Manila, capital of the former Spanish colony of the Philippines, where a great quantity of products from the Orient were shipped by Spanish galleons to be brought to Spain.

Mantón de Manila en la Casa de Los Balcones
The shawl was a great success especially in Seville where it began to be used between the singers and “dancers” of flamenco. It also enjoyed a quick popularity in Mexico, with these two areas “driving” of the garment to be the main commerce of the major routes in maritime trade in the sixteenth century.

Diferentes Mantones de Manila disponibles en la Casa de Los Balcones
However, this peculiar garment has its origin in China. They were made of silk and hand embroidered. The decorative motifs, originally were mainly bamboo, dragons and pagodas; but because of the Spanish preferences and to facilitate marketing were changed by more typical motifs of our culture such as flowers, birds, medallions and flower-pots. One of the motifs that has had most acceptance has always been roses, perhaps fot its symbolism reflected in the Passion of Christ. There are some who adjudicate meanings to each type of flower and so lily is purity; Daisy: impatience; rose: secret; sunflower: fidelity…

Mantón de Manila en la Casa de Los Balcones
It notes that the first Shawls of Manila had no fringes. It was in Spain where they were added. The lattice fringe and the sumptuous and elaborate embroidery, are primarily responsible for the high cost, but undoubtedly, also, for its great beauty.

Manton de Manila

The Canarian Earring

The Canarian Earring, also known by the name of Aro, Hoop Earring Crescent or the ‘S’ is a traditional type of earring in the Canaries.

The first written reference of the earring in the Canary Islands, was in the early nineteenth century, when Victor Grau Bassas alluded to it in his uses and customs of the rural population of Gran Canaria’.

However, this type of earring corresponds to the oldest form of drop earring known on earth, as the Sumerian women used them similarly 2500 years BC.

Several types of earring exist, like the most basic and original with its shape and smooth lunar crescent, but there are many varieties with engravings and artistic ‘S’ reclining in its inside.

The earrings are made of gold, silver and other precious materials, in different sizes and versions of artisant craft. With its elegance and sexy charm are unique and very particular to look beautiful and appropriate in females of all ages and styles.

Nowadays both look charming worn by naughty girls, rebellious youngsters, like classical canarian mothers and elegant canarian grandmothers. The fame and beauty of the canarian earrings go beyond the borders of our Archipelago.

You can find a collection of the best earrings in the Casa de Los Balcones.

The Timple

The timple is a musical stringed instrument typical of the Canary Island. Consist in a little guitar with five strings although there is also one with four. Born presumably in the middle of the XIX century, the origin of this instrument of a “parrandera” nature is the baroque Laud, although is possibe that between its genes is present la Kora bereber. Even some compares it with the ukelele.


Timples y detalles de la madera de la Casa de Los Balcones

It presents to us an element of great complex, such in its construction as in its execution. It is created by combining special woods as Morera or Palo Santo, Cedar or Pine, Barbusano or Moral among others.

At present exits great artisans builders of timple, that continue the tradition of their ancestors using six different types of wood in its fabrication. We have to emphasize the use of Palo Santo, walnut, cypress or mora, this last is hard to get and it is the preferred for the case of the timple for many interpreters.


Taller de fabricación de timples

Alive element, the wood requires treatment and ageing for its drying that encloses in many occasions the secret of a great sound.

The most habitual technique of execution of the timple is strumming and punteo. In “la parranda” the timple commands, one of the instruments most representative of our folklore, always present in the heart of the canarian people.

In La Casa de los Balcones we have differente types, among them authentic works of art. Timples dones by master artisans, and also we have timples of importation which are more economical. Here we leave you with our friend Rogelio in the old Wines Press of La Casa de los Balcones turning a timple. Enjoy it!

Canarian knife

The Canarian Knife

The Canarian knife, valuable piece of craftsmanship while a useful tool, totally handmade, is characterized by a handle or end, beautiful and striking which makes it also very popular among collectors. This handle is worked in materials such as gold, silver, alpaca (copper, zinc and nickel), ivory, the ram’s horn (black and white blond) and ebony. Its blades, forged by a blacksmith are made of gold, silver, alpaca, Damascene steel, stainless steel and carbon steel (alloy of iron and carbon).


El Cuchillo Canario
On the origin and history of the Canary Islands knife several theories exist. Located chronologically by some in the thirteenth century, others say their presence in the Canary Islands does not go back beyond the mid-nineteenth century, associated with the early banana cultivation. Which is also known as “Naife”, from the English word “knife” would lead us to the theory that it was the British who brought it to the islands and yet the peculiar characteristics of the handle suggest a North African origin. Finally, after many studies, Don Alejandro Moreno and C. Marrero point out that – “the origin of the Canary Knife is in those peninsular territories where Arabs remained after the Reconquest finished. For further signs, I would say are focused or located in the regions of Toledo and Albacete, cities where, as was written by Martinez del Peral, making knives comes from the Moors, skilled artisans in cutting and treating metals “-.

Colección de cuchillos canarios en la Casa de Los Balcones, La Orotava
And in the Canary Islands, the knife took roots as an essential tool for the caltle breeder  and the farmer and between the first written references, we draw attention to the words of the English Olivia Stone, in 1885: “Islanders have at least a good habit. Wearly all men and boys carry knives, but as soon as the fight begins, throw them far away. If this practice was not well established, the passionate blood would lead to many terrible tragedies. ”

Campesino con Cuchillo Canario
Being motive of study for many, the Canarian knife can be classified by reference to the handle, in: Wooden handle knife, after Summit handle knife, knife after Coast handle knife and out of Flower handle Knife. Also, according to the length of the knife blade we find the Pastor, of 18 cm; Farm Knife or Platanero of 21 cm and Pitero knife, more than 23 cm. Finally, considering the materials used in their preparation they are divided into work knives and Jewel-Knives.

It has been deserving even of a monument to the Canarian knife, located at the end of Lomo Guillen (Guía of Gran Canaria), this city has been considered since time immemorial the quintessential land of knife.

According Bel says, if you give a Canarian knife to someone, it is desirable that in exchange you receive a coin from the recipient, which is the only way to assure of peace between the two people.


  • Consideraciones Generales sobre el origen y procedencia del Cuchillo Canario, por Alejandro C. Moreno y Marrero.
  • “La huella de tus manos”, de Stavros Meletlidis.
  • Fotografás de Stavros Meletlidis.

How to wear The Fajín in your typical Canarian Costume

We are going to complete The Guide of Romerias 2015 with a series of videos that surely will help to many people.

In this occasion we show you two ways to how you can wear the fajín in your “Traje de Mago”. Our partner Juani of the Eladia Machado House, in La Orotava, show us the most traditional and the most known by everyone, in the moment to take dress with the Traje tipico.

Pay attention to the video.