The Nicaraguan exhibition, mainly agricultural and ethnographic, is contained in a sort of vast indigenous hut made of bamboo as big as your arm and covered with thatch.
This exhibition has been organised by Mr. Menier, deputy of Seine-et-Marne, who owns in the country a cocoa plantation of great extent, whose products can be studied there at leisure.
Mr. Menier has been for years, as is well known, the unofficial and very devoted representative of the interests of the Republic of Nicaragua in France.
Charming exhibition!" exclaimed Mr. Philbert Brébant in the XIXe Siècle, "a very true and original exhibition. MM. Ménier, father and son, have placed the products of this country in a rancho, the house of the native. It is a small mound of bamboo, covered with palm leaves; at the windows, wide and low, are balanced, in primitive boxes, orchids in the middle colours.
"The walls are lined with straw mats and hammocks decorated with feathers; forty centimetre thick vines climb up the walls.
"On one side we see Valle's cocoa; on the other side, coffees, cottons, sugars, and above all a splendid collection of local woods; jewels of a bizarre and charming taste fill a showcase.
"Archaeology and ethnography are not forgotten. The idols of the ancient Maya in black lava, well preserved, very precious objects, occupy a place of honour in this country, which already enjoyed, before the Spanish conquest, an irregularly advanced civilisation. The ethnography of the country is represented by about fifty of the most amusing figurines representing all the national professions, the fisherman, the hunter, the Aguadon (the local Auvergnat), the merchant, the portmanteau, etc.; all these small statues are precious specimens of the artistic disposition of the Nicaraguans and useful documents to be consulted by the European man of science.
Ceramics is not one of the least curious parts of this exhibition. Native pottery is examined with interest; clothing and jewellery are of equal interest.
The samples of ore and the samples of wood are of great beauty; we do not believe we have seen such beautiful samples, especially of wood, in any other country.
©Les Merveilles de l'Exposition de 1878