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Paraguay - Expo Paris 1889

Paraguay at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1889
Architect(s) : Moreau

The pavilion, or to put it more accurately, the pavilions of Paraguay have a double purpose. After having been used for the Universal Exhibition, they will be dismantled and transported to Asuncion, capital of Paraguay, to be reassembled and used for an exhibition of French products.

In order to satisfy this double purpose, it was necessary to simplify as much as possible and not use any masonry. The construction is therefore made entirely of wood and iron panels.

This did not prevent the architect of the Paraguayan Exhibition, Mr. Moreau, from obtaining a very attractive ensemble with these three small independent buildings which occupy no more than 150 to 160 square metres of surface area, near the Palais des Beaux-Arts, on the Avenue de Suffren side. These three buildings are :
An octagonal pavilion, a rectangular pavilion and a square turret of three metres, with a total height of fifteen metres. All this is capriciously embellished in that Moorish taste, which one is a little astonished to see coming back from South America, but which is only a reminder of the Spanish conquest.

Wooden lacework festoons the doors and the advanced roofs, twisted columns, with palm leaves, call it motifs borrowed from Paraguayan churches. The turret is so delicately crafted that it is more a piece of artistic carpentry than a monument. It is, moreover, a type of construction quite peculiar to Paraguay: in the early days of the Spanish conquest all the isolated haciendas were provided with a turret of this kind, though less well carved. This turret was called a mirador, because of the watchman who stood there night and day to keep watch over the country and to signal the approach of Indians who did not consent to be colonised.

The doors and gates of these three buildings are all very curious, some are made of carved wood, others of wrought iron.

In this very picturesque setting, but of a somewhat uniform hue, stand out in bright colours, green, gold and red, magnificent display cases in which Paraguayan products are exhibited, which consist mainly of samples of the remarkable forest resources of this country.

There are also very beautiful collections of plants, all in all a very interesting exhibition which was one of the first to be completed, thanks to the activity of M. Cadiot, consul in Paris and deputy commissioner of the Republic of Paraguay, at the Universal Exhibition.

©Livre d'Or de l'Exposition - Alfbed Grandin.