BIBLIOTECA NACIONAL ARUBA
3 0993 00182 527 2
STOCK No. 752V2
The decorated house in Aruba / Ito TRomp. - Aruba :
Dept, of Culture and Education Aruba, . -
7 p. j ill. ; 30 cm
Bouwstylen; Aruba (TW)
XHS decorated house in ARUBA
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There might be two to threehundred houses In Aruba, which have the
nice decoration of curtain, star, flower, bird's peak, half moon,
etc., at the corner-edge or at the upper part of the house. These
houses wo do find all around, in almost all districts of Aruba. Al¬
ways people thought that these designs came from early Indian-cul-
ture; maybe, the star-design might have a similarity in looking, as
the God Sun of the Indians. However, the history of this decoration-
system does not go too for in the past.
In his book "Millefiori di Aruba", Father Nooyen states, that the
first house which got this type of decoration was the house of Mr.
Bernardo Eman Croes at Pos Chikito. Two masons of Noord, Julian
(Janchi) Christiaans and Gregorio (Goy) Semeleer, built this house
in 1920, and made the decorations at the upper part and at the cor¬
ners of the house. Other people at Pos Chikito, who saw this beau¬
tiful work, also wanted their homes to be decorated in the same
way. Leoncio (Joonchi) Henricus, a mason of Pos Chikito, leamdd
this job from Janchi Christiaans, and together whth his son Bonifa¬
cio (Bonny) Henricus, he went on with the decoration of houses at
Pos Chikito and Sabana Basora.
Janchi Christiaans, Goy Semeleer and other masons of Noord, like
‘ Hilario Christiaans, Victor Tromp, Gerardo Jacobs and Cornelis Rosa,
gave houses at Noord and Paradera the same decoration. In 1927,
Janchi Christiaans built a house for Julian Tromp at Buguruy. This
was the first house at Noord to get a type of curtain-decoration.
Later, masons of Paradera, Santa Cruz and Sabaneta, copied the de¬
coration of houses. They practiced this system up to around 19U.
They still have the molds safeguarded and well kept, but doe nnt
use them anymore. Janchi Christiaans started to cut the molds of
zinc plates and carton. Janchi Christiaans had his own creation and
system, while Leoncio and Bonifacio Henricus, produced their own
fantasy. And this is what made these decorations popular, because
lots of persons could convert their imagination into expressive art.
However, the decoration of houses is not an original idea of Janchi
Christiaans. Janchi was a discipel of his father Hose Christiaans,
and of the Donatl family, from Italian ancestors. Donatl-masons al¬
so made these decorations, but without using any kind of mold, thus
\ just making the design and using common plaster as material.
k.- JUL ibbo
Using Dr. Johan Hartog’s "Aruba,breve hietoria" as reading material,
I noticed that he also writes that these designs wer not indian hex-
signs, but only decoration fantasy. One point, may be, which can be
a disagreement, is the fact that he writes that in 1820 some masons
from Curacao started with this type of decoration in Aruba. This
means then, that contradictory to Father Nooyen, who states that thie
began in 1920, they started one hundred years before. As part of my
research I interviewed also Mr. Julio Maduro, hea of the Department
of Labor, who told me that around 1800 Johannes (Janehi) Wolff, star¬
ted with the decoration of houses. And as Jane hi himself said, he
learned this trade from hie grandfather, who in former times built
the first lighthouse at California Point. After comparing his infor¬
mation, I have to admit then, that Hartog is right in so far, con¬
cerning the starting period of the decorated house in Aruba in 1820.
But not that ths masons came from Curacao. Victor Tromp, now about
87 years old, was a family-member of Janohi Wolff.
Julio Maduro says that in 1920 the masons started again with this
type of decoration. All togtither, there is no pacific year (up to
now) in which the Aruban started this decorative art-expression. It
is interesting to know, that these decorations were a kind of symbol
for several generations. An example: decorations that appear on a
house of an Arends family, may also be seen on a house of a Bermudez
and Croes family. This is because always parents gave a specific de¬
sign to their son or daughter, when they were going to get married.
People also spoke formerly about superstition. That these dAsighs
had a certain type of voodoo, to keep away the ghosts of the Indians,
who were hurried in the vicinity where the house now stands. But this
vanished almost completely.
About the continuing of the designs from family to family, this is ■
cultural heredity not anymore established. Hence, that formerly,
every young man, getting married, had to have his own house, other¬
wise no marriage.
The designs were made in relief, according to the fantasy of the ma¬
son. He sees for example 6 birds on a tree, and he drvws 6 birds on
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If tie vents to express his loTe towards his twins, then he designs a
The curtains were made, Just to cover the front, and served at the
same time as decoration. You also find different types of curtains,
depending on the ability of the mason to draw, and also on the style
of these masons. The one could draw better than the other, and this
brought the different types (the variety of types) of curtains on
Nowadays, if you want to use these types of designs on your house,
no worry, just get them copied and painted.
Department of Culture
and Education iruba.
pair of birds, vdth
flowers on their heads
Jug with double handle
bouquet of flowers
one star, with 4
bird* s cage
(half sired octopus)
type of plant
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