Documentary and book investigate the secret history of cocoa

Like the fruits of the ancestral plant that has motivated multidisciplinary and inter-institutional research, on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, at the closing of the 33rd International Anthropology and History Book Fair (FILAH) the premiere of the documentary was given The legend of the secret treedirected by Giuseppe Carrieriand from the book Cocoa. The plant that transits the timescoordinated by the researchers Clementina Battcock, Elisabeth Casanova Garcia, and Massimo De Giuseppe.

An exhibition will be added to both projects, in 2023, at the National Museum of World Cultures, in Mexico City.

The post was commented on Fray Bernardino de Sahagun Auditorium of the National Museum of Anthropology (MNA), by representatives of these organizations, who agreed on the need to generate volumes that make Mexican society aware of its biocultural heritage, which is essential to protect and, in turn, disperse, because in it lies in the sustainability of the communities and the sustainability of the ecosystems, from which we have obtained food for centuries.

Anthropologist Julieta Valle Esquivel commented that this book, by free distribution and available in electronic format in the INAH Media Library has an important ethnographic component, it also shows that anthropology is enriched in problematization capacity, to arrive at knowledge, when it dialogues with other areas of knowledge.

La researcher at the INAH Michoacán Center, Aida Castilleja Gonzalezexplained that, through five chapters, the book takes the reader to a millennium journey that begins in Mesoamerica where, before the arrival of the Spaniards, the territory of what is now Tabasco and Soconusco were distinguished by their production. It is known that the inhabitants of the El Manatí and San Lorenzo sites, in southeastern Veracruz, already consumed a drink similar to chocolate, around 1650 BC

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The volume includes unpublished images that portray the cultivation, harvest and grinding of cocoa and maps from 1599, under the protection of the AGN, referring to the first cocoa plantations in what is now Tabasco soil; information about the export of this product, just discovered the New World, and the cultural-global framework that gave rise to its commercialization; as well as a series of poems by Massimo De Giuseppe.

The anthropologist recalled that the Theobroma Cocoa, pollinated by tiny mosquitoes, is a tree that requires special conditions to bear fruit, so its cultivation is restricted to coastal areas, particularly hot and humid, located between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, exposed to the turbulence of change climate.

“The book shows the interweaving that a plant supposes, with the complexity of the social and cultural contexts, as well as the doings and chores of those who, with their skills, have maintained this crop, innovated and created new forms of elaboration and diversification of their products, the same in Tabasco, as in Modica, Italy”, he expressed.

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