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Monteiro (Brazil)

Monteiro is a Brazilian city in the state of Paraiba, 319Km away from the capital João Pessoa, by highway. Located in the region called Cariri Paraibano, it brings together 31 municipalities that share the same development strategies, as the city of Monteiro being the most important in terms of population and economy.

The municipality is included in the geographic coverage area of the Brazilian semiarid region.

Vegetation: Predominance of caatinga, which can vary in the area of the municipality, in more arid places with the strong presence of cacti, with a strong landscape typical of the thorny backwoods.

Climate: Semiarid. Hot during the day and cool at night, with an average temperature of 22 degrees Celsius. Even with pleasant temperatures, drought is present, and the rainfall index is around 650 mm.

Economy: Based on agriculture (goat and sheep farming), handicraft, commerce, service sector and civil service.

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Indicators HDI: 0.628 average UNDP/2010 GDP: BRL 527,477 thousand IBGE/2018

GDP per capita: R$ 15,980.00 IBGE/2018

Area: 1,009.90 Km² (IBGE), the largest municipality in Paraiba.

  Population: 33,039 inhabitants (IBGE/2016) Time Zone: UTC-3

So, from generation to generation, arts and crafts are passed from a father to a son, from a master to a learner. Education in the East is learning from heart to heart, in a direct communication. Master ("Usta") being in a close contact with the student gradually conveys the secrets of his craft. Having devoted years to the practice of technical performance, the learner eventually opens up a qualitatively new meaning in what he does - he is the bearer and continuer of tradition. Through the "Master-apprentice" schools, new jobs are created by teaching the secrets of the craft to younger generation. More than 5,000 new job opportunities have been created.

Cultural Asset

The municipality of Monteiro has two public higher education institutions:


The Center for Human and Exact Sciences at State University of Paraíba (UEPB - CCHE/Campus IV) located in the downtown offers lato-sensu undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The campus is also active in the cultural development of the region, promoting actions and events in partnership with the “Zabé da Loca” Art and Culture Center.


The Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Paraíba (IFPB - Campus Monteiro) was implemented in the city in 2009 and is located in the Vila Santa Maria neighborhood. It offers superior undergraduate and graduate courses, as well as technical courses.


The Center of Reference Lace Renascence – CRENÇA, opened in 2021, located in a historical house of the city center, has an exhibition and sale of products in renaissance lace produced in the region, a room for the association of lacemakers of Cariri. It should host the Innovation and Design Laboratory for Crafts – LAIDA Cariri on its upper floor.


Justification of the Request


More than a craft technique of expressive cultural value, preserved and recreated daily by more than 3,000 artisans, the Renascence Lace has an unsuspected socioeconomic dimension in the city's history. It was a decisive factor in the maintenance of the numerous families that had their livelihood guaranteed by the handicraft work of the wives and mothers who saw their husbands and children seek better luck by immigrating, during periods of prolonged drought, to the country's large urban centers during the first half of 20th century. The marjority never returned to their homes. In the Northeast region of Brazil, the Renascence Lace was responsible for the insertion of women into the world of work and their status as head of the household in the territory of Cariri Paraibano.

On 09/24/2013 the National Institute of Industrial Property - INPI was granted the INDICATION OF PROCEDURE - IG for the production of the Renascence Lace in the region known as "CARIRI PARAIBANO" demarcated by the political boundaries of the municipalities of Monteiro, Camalaú, São João do Tigre, São Sebastião do Umbuzeiro, Zabelê, Prata, Sumé and Congo.


The renaissance lace pieces from Cariri Paraibano are exported to several countries in Europe. The importance of the work for the region's development can be measured by its international recognition, whose Cariri Renascence Lace was exposed in 2013 at the UN headquarters in New York.


Renaissance Lace Characteristics


The needle is the basic instrument used by lacemakers to transform lace and thread into Renaissance Lace. The sewing machine is not used at any point in the process of preparing Renaissance Lace, and can only be used to finish sewing sheets, tablecloths and clothing. The entire lace manufacturing process is carried out on the right side, so that the wrong side is inside protected by the paper, being exposed only at the end of the work. The types of renaissance lace stitches produced in cariri are different from any locality.

There are more than one hundred (100) the most used types of stitches produced in the municipalities. The lace has a very strong meaning for the lace makers of Cariri Paraibano because it. It's distinguishing mark. serves as an identification element for the local lace. In addition to the lace, other lines and roles are added to the Renaissance lace. It is not allowed the dyeing of pieces of Renaissance Lace of Cariri Paraibano.


Technical Specification: br/servicos/indicacoes-geograficas/arquivos/cadernos-de- especificacoestecnicas/CaririParaibano.pdf


Lace Ecosystem in Cariri Paraibano


The five Renaissance Lace producing cities in the Cariri region of Paraiba have a Renaissance Lace Production and Marketing Center built with World Bank resources in the cities of Camalaú, São João do Tigre, São Sebastião do Umbuzeiro, Zabelê and Monteiro, which makes the events, exhibitions, courses and training for artisans in the region, configuring.


Origins of Renaissance Lace


The Renaissance Lace appeared in Europe during the 15th century, exactly during the Renaissance period, which is why it has this designation, in the region of Flanders in Belgium and in the 16th century in northern Italy in the Veneto region, the island of Burano was able to patent the making of Renaissance Lace as an Italian handmade symbol. The artisanal production of Renaissance Lace remained in the domain of female competence, being a luxury item. Henry II, King of France, was one of the great promoters of lace, using it in the composition of the collars of his garments.


From the 17th century onwards, segments of the bourgeoisie began to copy aristocratic fashion using their costumes. In the 19th century, Renaissance Lace, brought to Brazil by nuns, developed in several states in the northeast and south of Brazil, becoming today a great national cultural heritage, being the Cariri region the only one to have the seal of Geographical Indication of Renaissance Lace income in Brazil.


The Renaissance Lace in Monteiro


The Santa Teresa Convent, located in Olinda, Pernambuco, was occupied in the 19th century by French nuns from the Daughters of Charity congregation. Famous for producing excellent embroidery and, above all, for being the only ones in the region to make handcrafted pieces with Renaissance Lace. From high symbolic and financial value, this luxury craft was much sought after by the elite of the northeastern region, being an indispensable part in the composition of the bride’s trousseaus.


According to the technical report delimiting the authorized area for the production of the geographical indication "Cariri Paraibano" for Renaissance Lace, part of the document history the emergence of this activity in the region, whose literal transcription follows:


This craftsmanship was for centuries a secret kept among the French nuns, who were concerned with keeping this activity exclusively practiced within the walls of their convent.

However, in the 1930s, in the 20th century, this domain of artisanal knowledge fell into the power of poor women in the region through the articulation of a woman from Paraíba, Elza Medeiros, popularly known as Lalá. In Poção, Pernambuco, Lala sought to make new friendships, one of which was decisive in the history of Renaissance Lace in Cariri Paraibano: that of her friendship with a young woman known as Maria Pastora.

Maria Pastora worked for the French nuns in Olinda, at the Santa Teresa convent


As the production of Renaissance Lace income was very slow, and as the nuns were always determined never to delay the delivery of an order, they commonly turned to Maria Pastora to help them complete the pieces, of course they wanted everything in the strictest confidence.


However, Maria Pastora's mother was convalesced and needed care, and this made Maria Pastora return to Poção and take with her a quilt from the trousseau of a rich Pernambuco bride, to conclude and not delay the delivery date, which was already very close.


Even with all her efforts, Maria Pastora predicted that the time she had would not be enough to finish the work, and to speed up the lace making, she decided to break the secret about the handicraft production process and teach it to Lala, and thus, I could have your help to finalize the lace.


The young artisan recommended that Lala keep the fabrication process secret, but her helper had other goals. It was time for Renaissance Lace to spread to the four corners of the region. During that same period, the northeast was going through a great drought and its population was punished by its effects. Lala, faced with the calamity caused by the drought at the time, took the initiative to pass on what she had learned with Maria Pastora to other people, generating work and income for many. In a large hall, still in Poção, she began by teaching poor women in the region to produce Renaissance Lace pieces. The artifacts produced by the group were sold by Lala, and as the number of orders was gradually increasing, Lala produced with her students and sold the production in the city of Pesqueira, in Pernambuco, later also selling it in the capital, Recife. As the years passed and the income proved to be a very promising economic alternative, which unleashed new traders and artisans in the region.

The climate and lands of Cariri were never good for planting, and that is exactly why they were fertile for the renaissance to take root. Fertile because income was a viable economic alternative, because there were women of all ages willing to work there, eager to change the living conditions of their families.


The lace, when it began to expand, was for a long time the only way of life, not only for the Poção community, but for several surrounding towns, reaching some municipalities in Paraíba, where it became popular with the name of Renaissance Lace. In Paraíba, the income arrived in the mid-50s by the hands of some women who lived in the municipalities of Camalaú, São João Tigre, São Sebastião do Umbuzeiro and Zabelê, which at the time were districts of the large municipality of Monteiro”.

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